Melbourne Water stream network: user’s manual

Version 1.3

Christopher J Walsh

Melbourne Waterway Research Practice Partnership, Waterway Ecosystem Research Group, School of Agriculture, Food, and Ecosystem Sciences, The University of Melbourne


May 1, 2023


The Melbourne Stream Network ( represents the flow paths and catchments of the streams and rivers of the Greater Melbourne Region (the region managed by Melbourne Water). Furthermore, the network database is a systematic collection of hydro-environmental characteristics that:

  • improves the accuracy of stream alignments and extent throughout the region beyond existing stream maps;

  • uses existing stream line data from several sources, ensuring downstream connectivity of lines, correcting delineation errors and augmenting the network to include small headwater streams missing from earlier stream data;

  • standardises names of streams across the region, giving each stream a unique name and code;

  • splits the stream lines into reaches at confluences and between confluences so that 99% of reaches are less than 500 m long (mean length 195 m);

  • provide a unique meaningful code for each reach, linked to existing codes such as Melbourne Water’s asset identifiers;

  • delineates a subcatchment boundary derived from a 5-m digital elevation model for each reach;

  • is stored as a spatial database structured to permit rapid calculation of upstream catchment statistics, such as land-use fractions, and rapid derivation of catchment boundaries. These functions can also be used through an application on the web.

This version (1.3) includes a small number of additional corrections to stream lines and subcatchments. Most significantly, the version 1.3 database contains expanded and revised tables of environmental variables for all subcatchments. More detail on version changes can be found in Appendix B.

Unlike earlier versions, I have claimed sole authorship of this version of the manual while formally specifying and acknowledging the contributions of my collaborators who contributed to the writing of some sections. They are listed as co-authors of the relevant sections: J Kunapo who was the primary compiler of the stream and subcatchment data up to version 1.2 co-authored Appendix A; M J Sammonds worked with me on the compilation of the stream_names table and contributed to Chapter 3, section 3.6); and M J Burns calculated the flow metrics and contributed to Chapter 8. See also the Acknowledgements.

Citation (for this report and for the use of any data downloaded from this site provides a direct interface to the data)

Walsh, C.J. (2023) The Melbourne Water stream network: user’s manual. Version 1.3. Melbourne Waterway Research-Practice Partnership Report 19.4d. Waterway Ecosystem Research Group, School of Agriculture, Food, and Ecosystem Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne. URL:

This document supercedes the Version 1.2 manual (Kunapo, Walsh, and Burns 2022) available here. The web interface now reads from version 1.3 (the version 1.2 interface was not retained, given the small number of geometry changes between versions). The web interface of the version 1.1 network (Kunapo, Walsh, and Burns 2022) can be accessed at The version 1.0 manual (Kunapo, Walsh, and Sammonds 2019) is available here. The past databases are available for download here.