Working together to build an integrated forecasting system for the Patawalonga Lake

Mr Daniel Rodger1, Mr Lachlan  Attard1, Mr Craig Reardon2, Mr  Alex Cornish3

1Jeremy Benn Pacific, Spring Hill , Australia, 2Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources , Adelaide, Australia, 3Bureau of Meteorology , Adelaide, Australia


Australia is renowned for its coastal lifestyle – which is a source of both reputation and risk for communities living in low-lying areas.  The management of storm tides, coastal and fluvial flooding is an important element to these areas, particularly around coastal lakes.  The development of comprehensive forecasting systems offer an important non-structural mitigation approach to increase resilience in these areas.  Delivered through a multi-agency approach, they provide earlier warning of extreme events, allowing preventative actions, greater preparedness to emergency services, and faster recovery for communities.

The Patawalonga Lake, located south of Adelaide, is managed by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR).  The lake has multiple uses, and during extreme weather it plays an important role in flood mitigation.  By manually opening the lake and altering its water level in the days before heavy rainfall and tides, it can be used as additional storage for flooding.  However, decisions need to be made in the days leading up to an event to offer the greatest benefits to residents.

A coastal and river forecasting system has been developed to support the lake operations, linking DEWNR operations to Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecasts.  It accounts for both coastal and fluvial processes, the upcoming astronomical tide, storm surge, rainfall, soil infiltration, runoff/routing to the lower system, and the complex hydraulic operations between the various outlets.  Each component has been linked within the Delft-FEWS forecasting ‘shell’ and a user-friendly website, and linked to BoM weather and tide predictions.


Dan is a Director at JBP for Coastal, Marine and Flood Risk Management, and a chartered civil and marine engineer.

Dan’s focus is the integration of innovation and technology within extreme weather management. He has lead the development of over 10 integrated coastal and flood forecasting systems, in Australia, Scotland, England and Wales.  In 2014 he developed the largest coastal comprehensive forecasting system in the UK, developed for the Moray Firth, and covering 400km of coastline, three councils, and 42 different communities.