Melbourne Water stream network: user’s manual

Version 1.3 (updated for 1.3.1, June 2024)

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 and downstream 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 (1.3.1) expands and revises tables of environmental variables for all subcatchments beyond version 1.3. New tables identifying stream barriers (used for calculating numbers of downstream barriers) and areas of stormwater drainage connection (used for calculating effective imperviousness have been added). These additions have been documented in the manual. And a small number of corrections in several tables. More detail on version changes can be found in Appendix B.

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 1.3.1 (the version 1.2 and 1.3 interfaces was not retained, given the small number of geometry changes between versions). Appendix D provides instructions for use of the app. 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.