Salinity models

Modelling is used to fill information gaps where data is limited or to add value to data by combining it in ways that represent processes that are otherwise not directly mappable. For example, it is not possible to directly map the extent of salinisation in 2050, but by using a model that represents the processes of dryland salinisation, it is possible to extrapolate from existing spatial data to make predictions about future condition.

To manage salinity in a catchment we need to know:

  • Where and how much salt is stored in the landscape
  • How salt and water moves in the landscape
  • How the geology and structure of the landscape contributes to the problem
  • What affects the rate of movement of salt
  • How changing something in one location affects the rest of the catchment or basin.

Computer based modelling tools also support natural resource management by enabling different management options to be explored and evaluated, or to allow data to be extrapolated in time and space when limited data is available.

Instream salinity models of NSW tributaries in the Murray-Darling Basin