Barnett, B., Townley, L., Post, V., Evans, R., Hunt, R., Peeters, L., Richardson, S., Weatherill, D., Werner, A., Knapton, A., and Boronkay, A. (2013), Developing groundwater modelling guidelines for Australia, Proceedings of MODFLOW and More 2013: Translating science into practice, Integrated Groundwater Modeling Center (IGWMC), Colorado School of Mines, 2-5 June 2013, Golden, Colorado, 14 pp.

Australian Groundwater Modelling Guidelines have recently been published by the Australian National Water Commission. The document was prepared by a team of authors drawn from the consulting industry, academia and government. The target audience includes modellers, model owners, environmental regulators and the community in general. The diverse nature of both the authorship team and the target audience led to a number of challenges during the course of the project. The intention was to develop a truly national document that would be adopted by all states and territories as a benchmark for best practice. While not intended to be a text book nor a strict code of practice, the guidelines adopt an approach that aims at providing practical guidance and solutions to those problems that typically arise during the course of a groundwater modelling project. The document includes chapters on all of the principal stages in the planning, development and operation of groundwater models, with particular focus on numerical simulation models. Key aspects that are covered include setting objectives, assessing model confidence levels, approaches to calibration, uncertainty analysis, and the review process. Through the inclusion of specific chapters, the guidelines provide additional focus on the modelling of solute transport processes and groundwater-surface water interaction. It is hoped that the guidelines will be a useful reference for inexperienced modellers, and to this end, numerous practical examples and cautionary notes drawn from the experience of the authors appear throughout. Experienced modellers are expected to use the guidelines to support the various assumptions and methods used in developing models. Since its publication in June 2012, regulators, model owners and modellers have already started to use the guidelines as a basis for defining an industry-accepted approach to model development. This paper focuses on the advances made in the guidelines, the challenges that needed to be addressed and overcome and the initial industry response to their publication.


Copyright © 2015 by Lloyd Townley
Last revised: 17 June 2015