Oral Presentation NCGRT/IAH Australasian Groundwater Conference 2019

Moving towards near real-time groundwater level data. Providing an automated and consistent groundwater level dataset for Australia (391)

Brendan Dimech 1 , Todd Lovell 1 , Mario Mirabile 1 , Elisabetta Carrara 1
  1. Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, VIC, Australia


As part of the Water Act 2007, the Bureau of Meteorology is required to collect, hold, interpret and disseminate Australia's water resource data. One of these is a nationwide dataset for groundwater levels, containing 230,000 bores with a recorded water level. This data is made available through the Bureau's Groundwater Explorer - bom.gov.au/water/groundwater/explorer – for download at bore level or by state or river catchment scale.

The Bureau was publishing this data on the Groundwater Explorer twice a year. Following customers feedback for increased data currency, the Bureau is now increasing the frequency of groundwater levels ingestion and publication. A project was developed to automate the ingestion of data and the publishing to the Groundwater Explorer.

Design and Methodology

Under the Water Regulations 2008 all state and territory water agencies are required to deliver water resource data to the Bureau. This is ingested into the Australia Water Resources Information System (AWRIS). AWRIS is a database developed to hold all water resource information submitted to the Bureau. Currently the majority of data relates to surface water.

 This project was developed to complete several tasks:

 Working closely with lead water agencies to enhance and facilitate their data submission.

  • Extending AWRIS to better accommodate groundwater information.
  • Further automation of data processing and quality checking to allow automatic publishing to the Groundwater Explorer.


This means Bureau's Groundwater Explorer is now publishing water levels at days after being read, at sites where available. This standardised dataset is available at a national scale for most states and territories.

Lead water agencies are required to deliver monthly, however in most cases it is delivered more frequently. Automation has allowed for the data to be ingested and published as it is delivered with minimal latency. About 500 sites are telemetered, with readings being updated weekly. 5,000 more are logged sites than have readings within 2019. 

Internally, the Bureau staff has now access to automated and consistent water level data for use in analysis and assessment across Australia. For example, this data has been used to provide up to date and relevant groundwater information to the NSW Drought Taskforce and the MDBA/CEWO's Climate and Water Briefing.