Resources / History

Swan-Canning Estuary Response Model

The development of the “Swan-Canning Estuarine Response Model (SCERM)” started since 2011 with main purposes to support decision making related to the management challenges of water quality degradation, and to help build a holistic picture of the system. By integrating various field investigations and the extensive long-term monitoring data, the system offers the potential to synthesize our knowledge of the estuarine function across a broad range of disciplines and spatio-temporal scales. Ultimately the model would also be suited to undertake forecast predications of the long-term system response to ongoing land-use and climate change and to identify thresholds of change and the level of resilience.

The model has been developed and assessed in multiple stages. The evolution of the model through these stages was based on the management needs and our evolving understanding of the SCE system. The model performance assessment suggested in its present form the model is suitable for assessing the management scenarios associated with oxygenation variations, nutrient load management and/or climate change.

Fore more details of the model development and assessment please refered to the following reports:

Hipsey, M.R., Kilminster, K., Busch B., 2016b. The Swan-Canning Estuary Response Model (SCERM) v1: Model validation and performance assessment. AED Report #R29, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 49pp.

Huang, P., Hipsey, M.R., Busch B., 2017. The Swan-Canning Estuary Response Model (SCERM) v2: Model validation, monitoring data assessment and real-time operation. AED Report #R34, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 39pp.

Swan-Canning Estuary Real-time System and Visual Observatory

Integrated systems modelling has been identified as one of the research priorities for SCE management because it enables the synthesis of bio-physical data, process understanding and predictive tools to directly support decision-making (Thomson et al., 2017. Research and information priorities for estuary management in south west Western Australia. Report prepared for the Western Australian Marine Science Institution, Perth, Western Australia, 87 pp.). After the model performance assessment suggested the model was able to reproduce general water quality factors such as nutrient levels, DO concentrations, and phytoplankton biomass in response to climate and catchment forcing, the SCERM was then extended to a real-time water quality management system by integrating field monitoring data, climate model, coastal ocean model, and catchment input model.

Historical application examples of the SCERM model on the Swan-Canning Estuary

  • Assessment of Aritificial Oxygenation in upper Swan River: Artificial oxygenation has been a remediation strategy for poor water quality in the upper reaches of the Canning River for more than 16 years, and in the upper Swan River for the past 6 years. This project is aiming at a quantitative assessment of the effectiveness of artificial oxygenation in this dynamic estuarine environment to optimise the operation scheme and oxygen loads. Full report

  • Modelling assessment on the current monitoring program: This is part of the SCERMv2 model assessment report to carry a modelling assessment on the current monitoring system to keep the monitoring programs dynamically evolving to meet the managing needs, including biogeochemical 'hotspot' analysis, high frequency sampling and dynamic sampling suggestions.

  • Forecast the water quality of the Swan-Canning Estuary out to 2050: This project was undertaken as part of the 2017/2018 Environmental Engineering Design Class of the University of Western Australia in corporation with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. The specific aims of this project involved forecasting a range of possible future conditions that encompassed a variety of meteorological and catchment management scenarios. This range of future conditions was selected so as to inform decision makers about the extent of climate change on system water quality as well as the effectiveness of current management strategies including artificial oxygenation and reducing the nutrient input to the estuary.