State Water has won the top award in the Sydney division of the 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards for its $65 million Computer-Aided River Management (CARM) project.

At a gala event held at Sydney’s Star Event Centre, the Murrumbidgee Computer Aided River Management Project received top honours in the Engineering for Regional Communities Category and the Bradfield Award for exceptional engineering merit, a prize reserved exclusively for the winners of individual categories.

The $65 million CARM project entailed the upgrade of infrastructure and management technology throughout the Murrumbidgee River System, enabling New South Wales’ State Water Corporation to increase water efficiency and benefit the environment through improved monitoring and prediction.

CARM itself encompasses a total of five major projects including the Yanco Creek Efficiency Project, the Old Man Creek Water Efficiency Project, the Murrumbidgee Metering Project, the Bundidgerry Creek projects, and the CARMS technology.

The project incorporates a broad swathe of real time water management data to enhance the efficiency of river management operations. The data collection methods employed by CARM include new meter and telemetry units installed on most of the river system’s extraction points; ground monitoring stations, weather monitoring stations and the incorporation of both new and existing river gauging stations.

One of the project’s chief accomplishments has been to raise water efficiency and achieve water savings by better matching irrigation delivery with agricultural demand.

“CARM aims to make the Murrumbidgee River one of the world’s most efficient and best-managed working river systems,” said Brett Tucker, chief executive of State Water.

Murrumbidgee River

Murrumbidgee River

Tucker said the project will bring major environmental benefits to the Murrumbidgee Valley as well as the Snowy/Murray system in general.

“CARM involves a series of infrastructure and technology upgrades which will deliver water savings, of which 33GL will be returned to the Snowy/Murray systems and the remainder to the Murrumbidgee valley to improve reliability,” he said.

According to Tucker, the innovations deployed in the CARM project are applicable throughout the state.

“In the long term we envisage rolling out this technology throughout regional NSW to achieve water savings and maximize the efficiency of water operations,” he said.

The CARM project was funded by Water for Rivers, a company established jointly by the Federal, New South Wales and Victorian governments for the purpose of recovering environmental water for the Snowy and Murray Rivers.