As our name suggests, we provide specialist engineering analysis and advice in a range of water-related fields. We specialise in hydrological and hydraulic studies of waterways, catchments and floodplains, and the development of long term strategies and designs for management of flood and hydrologic risk. Have a look below for an overview of the main project areas where we apply this expertise.

We endeavour to provide high-standard outcomes throughout the project cycle. From initial data collection and analysis, computer modelling and investigation work, community consultation, through to reporting and communication, we strive to maintain best industry practice in everything we do. We have a long history of establishing and communicating holistic and sustainable management plans, and developing functional and effective waterway infrastructure designs.

Core Competencies

Community Consultation

  • preparation and distribution of newsletters;
  • online surveys and community data collection;
  • project-specific website development and hosting;
  • community workshops and information sessions;

  • computer simulation of rainfall-runoff processes (RAFTS, RORB, DRAINS, continuous modelling and others);
  • integrated flood and flow forecasting systems;
  • flood forecasting;
  • hydrometeorological analysis;
  • estimation of surface and groundwater yields;
  • yield and system modelling;
  • water supply and irrigation scheme reliability analysis
  • flood frequency analysis;
  • joint probability assessment;
  • time series analysis of stream flows;
  • on-site stormwater detention;
  • probable maximum precipitation estimates.
  • impacts to climate change on water availability;
  • dam hydrology;
  • hyropower hydrology;

  • 1D and 2D unsteady flow modelling (TUFLOW, SOBEK, MIKE, RMA and others);
  • Flood impact assessments for Development Applications;
  • detailed hydraulic analyses for open channels, bridges, culverts and floodplains;
  • assessment and mapping of stream height, flow and velocity;
  • hydraulic / hazard categorisation of floodplain areas;
  • estuary and river dynamics;
  • urban drainage systems;
Data Collection, Analysis & Management

  • preparation of detailed survey briefs, including LIDAR;
  • GIS (ARC and MapInfo), including mapping and custom plug-in development;
  • post flood collection of water level data;
  • collection and assessment of historical rainfall data;
  • post flood collection of flood damages data;
  • comparison of procedures for obtaining survey, e.g. LIDAR, photogrammetry, field survey;

Specifc Areas of Expertise

Flood Studies

WMAwater has completed over 50 Flood Studies under the NSW Floodplain Management Program in both urban and rural areas across the state, and successfully progressed many of these studies through the Risk Management Study and Plan stage. We have also completed dozens of site-specific hydraulic modelling and flood impact assessments for private developers and other government clients. We are proficient with the major hydrologic and hydraulic modelling packages, including TUFLOW, SOBEK, Mike, RMA, HEC-RAS, RUBICON, RAFTS, DRAINS, WBNM, RORB, and more.

Our expertise with all stages of the Flood Study process enables us to provide pragmatic information that can lead to real solutions for flood risk management, Rather than blindly relying on “one-size-fits-all” modelling techniques, we use our experience to apply analysis methodologies that are specifically designed for the catchment at hand.

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Urban Stormwater Management and Concept Design

WMAwater offers a range of services related to urban drainage assessment and design, including:

  • evaluation of existing stormwater drainage systems
  • development of drainage strategies and concept designs
  • impact assessments for new development
  • preparation of detailed management plans – prioritisation of works to address black spots and budgetary constraints
  • establishing stormwater critieria for development control plans (DCPs) in urban renewal precincts
  • section 94 plan preparation and contributions assessment
  • on-site detention systems analysis and design

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Major Waterway Infrastructure

Hydrology is often a vital aspect of major infrastructure projects. The design of bridges and cross-drainage for large road and rail projects is frequently complicated by the hydrologic impacts on existing residents and developments in the area. Our key strength lies in a combination of strong technical ability and focus on community consultation, throughout all stages of the project from route selection and environmental impact assessment through to detailed design and construction.

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Floodplain Management and Mapping

WMAwater has extensive experience in catchment flood investigations and floodplain management, being at the forefront of the NSW floodplain management process since the initial stages of its development in the early 1980’s. Our credentials and track record in carrying out flood-related studies as well as producing practical floodplain management plans is significant. We constantly review and update our methodology to use the latest technologies and employ best practice approaches for flood investigations.

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Expert Review and Industry Development

Due to the experience of our senior staff and the depth of our specialist water team, WMAwater is frequently approached to take a review or oversight role for water engineering components of various projects. A high profile example is WMAwater acting as the independent expert in technical matters on behalf of the Queensland 2011 Floods Commission of Inquiry.

WMAwater also takes a lead role in development of the Australian water and floodplain management fields, for example in our involvement in the revision of Australian Rainfall and Runoff, and the National Disaster Insurance Review.

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WMAwater staff have extensive experience in undertaking hydrologic and hydraulic modelling studies for small to major dams through all stages of the dam lifecycle from feasibility studies through to design, portfolio risk assessment, due diligence studies and decommissioning. Our experience includes:

  • Assessment of yields and supply reliability
  • Design flood studies
  • Spillway adequacy assessments
  • Dam break modelling
  • Dam Failure modelling and consequence assessment
  • Dam safety emergency planning
  • System modelling and optimisation
  • Flood and inflow forecasting

Climate Change

The potential impacts of climate change are an issue that must be addressed for all projects relying on hydrological assessment or near the coast, from flood studies and flood risk management planning to infrastructure design, coastal development, and water supply and irrigation management.

WMAwater is experienced in assessing potential impacts of climate change from projected sea level rise, possible changes to extreme and average rainfall intensities and changes to rainfall and evaporation. Our staff are actively involved in research into impacts of climate change on water resources and practical implementation and management responses for communities that may be affected by climate change.

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Coastal and Maritime

Estuarine and Coastal Studies

  • coastal hazard assessments and coastline management studies
  • estuary processes assessment and management plans
  • waterway user assessments and waterway usage planning studies
  • bank erosion investigations and bank management studies
  • coastal and estuarine infrastructure investigation and design

Maritime Engineering – Planning, Management and Design

  • port planning investigations and management studies
  • design of port facilities – wharves, jetties (pontoons, landings, boat ramps), seawalls, breakwaters
  • waterway infrastructure investigations
  • marina investigations
  • asset management and maintenance planning
  • dredging investigations and management plans

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Flood Forecasting

WMAwater staff have substantial experience in developing flood forecasting systems for a range of applications nationally and internationally. The forecasting systems that our staff have developed are used to give estimates of levels, flows and flood extents at key locations, up to 7 days into the future. These systems are used by major dam owners for operation of dams and storages, and by water managers such as local councils for management of catchments and populations at risk. These flood forecasting systems reduce risk by giving warning time for floods allowing for evacuations and warnings, and operational decisions to optimise flood management and dam safety. We are experienced in monitoring network design, database design, hydrologic catchment modelling, reservoir modelling, hydraulic modelling, decision support system design, interface development and system integration.

Environmental and Wetland Hydraulics

Sustainable management of water systems requires recognition and protection of environmental assets. Integrated Water Cycle Management (ICWM) is a framework that deals effectively with the complex interactions between various parts of the water cycle, including stormwater, water supply and wastewater. Modelling of environmental systems such as wetlands presents unique challenges, including the need to model long continuous flow sequences, while still capturing complex hydraulic behaviour, such as floodplain breakouts or regulator operations. Our environmental hydrology and hydraulics capabilities include:

  • Wetland hydrology & hydraulics
  • Water balance
  • Estuarine and littoral zone modelling
  • Regulators – flow allocation and environmental flows
  • Estimating regression relationships and flow splits for natural break-outs, off-takes, to facilitate decision making and plan environmental flow releases

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Yield and Reliability Studies

WMAwater staff have extensive experience in yield and reliability studies for a range of applications including irrigation developments, water supply, hydropower and environmental water requirements. We have expertise in

  • Hydrologic modelling;
  • System modelling, including pumping and piped systems, and reservoirs;
  • Reliability modelling;
  • Modelling yields and system reliability under climate change scenarios;


WMAwater staff have wide-ranging experience in undertaking hydrologic studies for hydropower schemes nationally and internationally. Our people have recently worked on hydropower schemes in PNG, Malaysia, Laos, Fiji and Solomon Islands. We have expertise in all aspects of hydropower hydrology from design to operation including:

  • Yield assessment;
  • Energy modelling;
  • Reservoir modelling;
  • Operating rule optimisation
  • Flood hydrology
  • Climate change impacts
  • Impacts on downstream hydrology
  • Inflow and flood forecasting systems
  • Hydrologic

    • computer simulation of rainfall-runoff processes (RAFTS, RORB, DRAINS and others);
    • flood forecasting;
    • yield and system modelling;
    • hydrometeorological analysis;
    • estimation of surface and groundwater yields;
    • flood frequency analysis;
    • joint probability assessment;
    • time series analysis of stream flows;
    • on-site stormwater detention;
    • probable maximum precipitation estimates.

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