National Committee on Water Engineering

Focused on hydrology, hydraulics and water-related issues.

What is Water Engineering?

The National Committee on Water Engineering is a specialist sub-committee of the Civil College within Engineers Australia. We are the peak representative body for members with an interest in hydrology, hydraulics, water quality, WSUD and water resources.

The NCWE is an Australian point of reference for Engineers Australia members, local Water Panels and affiliate international organisations.

The key objective of the NCWE are to:

The NCWE facilitates your professional development by:

  • expanding your network of professional contacts in the Water Engineering field
  • contributing to your skills and widening your knowledge
  • publishing a journal for the dissemination of the latest research and practices in hydrology, hydraulics, water resources and WSUD.

About the National Committee on Water Engineering

The National Committee on Water Engineering (NCWE) is a specialist group affiliated with the Civil College. We are the peak representative body for Water Engineering issues and services to members.

The NCWE coordinates water-engineering conferences, publishes the Australian Journal of Water Resources, revises the flood guide Australian Rainfall and Runoff and develops informative, non-technical position papers on water-engineering issues affecting the community.

Related groups

Australian Rainfall & Runoff Revision Project

Message from ARR Revision Project Team

Welcome to the web page of one of Engineers Australia's most ambitious activities: the revision of Australian Rainfall & Runoff (ARR).

ARR is one of the most influential and highly used documents published by the Institution of Engineers, Australia. The current edition, initially published in 1987 and published in a modified form in 1997, has received widespread Australian and international acclaim.

The handbook is the key source of technical information in Australia for designing infrastructure to withstand the impact of extreme rainfall, flooding and storm surge.

Revising the ARR handbook is identified as a priority in the COAG endorsed National Climate Change Adaptation Framework. The Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy efficiency (DCCEE) has agreed to support this activity, and has provided funding to assist Engineers Australia.

The Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has provided $4 million of funding to assist in Stages 1and 2 of updating Australian Rainfall and Runoff (ARR). The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has also provided a substantial contribution of $1.65 million to Stages 1 and 2 projects associated with updating intensity frequency duration (IFD) data. Engineers Australia (and its members) has undertaken to provide $2.635 million in kind effort and the actual value of $3.491 million at 30 June 2011 is well ahead of target.

It was originally anticipated that the ARR update would be completed in three stages over four years. However with current funding (September 2011) for the first two stages only, the final Stage 3 will take the Project into a 5th or even 6th year.

There have been significant technological advances in many areas of rainfall runoff assessment since the 1987 edition. As such 21 revision projects will be undertaken with the aim of filling knowledge gaps. The outcomes of the projects will assist the ARR editorial team compiling and writing of the chapters of ARR. Stage 1 comprises ten out of a potential 21 projects to be undertaken over the expected 4 years of the update process. The majority of the 21 projects will incorporate adaptation and consideration of the effects of climate change.

The priority now given to this major activity, and the scale of resources which are being applied to it over a limited period, has taken it beyond the normal capacity of ARR's sponsor - the National Committee on Water Engineering. Accordingly, the ARR Revision Project Team has been established to coordinate the many tasks involved.

Steering and Technical Committees have also been established to assist the ARR editorial team in guiding the projects to achieve desired outcomes. At the strategic level, the Project is guided by a Steering Committee comprising of major stakeholders. At the technical level, the projects are guided by a Technical Committee. Each project has an identified Project Manager. Project Coordination is being provided by Engineers Australia National Office, as are corporate support activities such as budget management.

For further information I encourage you to explore We welcome feedback and enquiries from Engineers Australia membership and the general public by email to

Mark Babister FIEAust CPEng
Chair, ARR Technical Committee
Immediate Past Chair, National Committee on Water Engineering
September 2011

Visit the Australian Rainfall & Runoff website

Water Engineering awards

Hall of Fame

About this award

The Hall of Fame honours individuals who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the water engineering profession in Australia.

These individuals have shaped the theory and practice of water engineering. The Hall of Fame not only seeks to acknowledge their contributions but also seeks to document their legacy to develop a sense of tradition and appreciation of the history of the profession.

For each individual in the Hall of Fame a brief biography has been prepared identifying major contributions and achievements and providing sources of further information.

Henderson Oration

Established as The Hydraulics Oration in 1989, the award was renamed The Henderson Oration in 1998 in recognition of Professor Frank Henderson's contribution to the knowledge and practice of hydraulic engineering in general, but to Australian practice in particular.

Professor Henderson's book 'Open Channel Hydraulics' is used as a standard text in almost all engineering schools in Australia and many others throughout the world.

The award aims to recognise the contribution of the science of hydraulics to the practice of hydrology and water resources engineering in Australia. The address is given at each Hydraulics Conference, held approximately every three years.

The conference organising committee, in consultation with the National Committee Chairman, proposes one or more candidates to the National Committee at least 12 months before the conference. The National Committee makes the final selection and the Chairman then sends a formal invitation to the selected Orator. The speaker should have made a significant contribution to hydraulics in Australia but need not be either an engineer or an Australian.

The Award is sponsored by the National Committee on Water Engineering. The inaugural oration was held in Adelaide in 1998 by Dr Martin Lambert, an ex-PhD student of Professor Henderson, on Professor Henderson's behalf.

John Burton Cumec Trophy

Hydrological Games

In May 1975, the 8th Hydrology & Water Resources Symposium was held at the University of New England. As one of the principal organisers of the Symposium, John Burton devised and introduced the inaugural Hydrological Games, and constructed the "Cumec Trophy" to be presented to the winning team.

In 2000, shortly after his death, the National Committee on Water Engineering renamed the trophy as the 'John Burton Cumec Trophy' to honour the role he played in devising and introducing the Games.

Student scholarships

The National Committee on Water Engineering of Engineers Australia has created a Student Scholarship award to encourage young engineers to become members of Engineers Australia and to pursue a career in water engineering.

The award includes registration at a NCWE sponsored conference and part payment for travel and accommodation associated with attending the conference. The award also includes a certificate that will be presented during the conference. Up to three Scholarships are offered annually to final year engineering students.

The Scholarships are open to undergraduate students enrolled at an Australian university who are completing their final year of engineering studies in the year of the award, and who:

  • are Australian citizens, or permanent residents of Australia
  • are specialising in water related subjects
  • are student members of Engineers Australia, or have a current application in for student membership.

Jack Lawson Scholarship

The Jack Lawson scholarship was set up in 2015 by the National Committee on Water Engineering to allow developing professionals in the water industry to attend key industry events. The first award was presented in 2015 to Rhys Thompson, who travelled to the International Association of Hydraulic Research Congress in the Hague, The Netherlands.

Contact us

For any enquiries regarding the National Committee on Water Engineering please contact:


Engineers Australia
Engineering House
11 National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600

To contact Member Services please call 1300 653 113


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