Cross-border collaboration would enhance water resources research and practice in North America

Note to Reader:

The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia develops online tools and delivers capacity-building programs on behalf of government. These programs provide professional development and tackle “the disconnect” between information and implementation in the local government setting.

Given the evident benefits of strategic interaction, the Partnership and the Urban Watershed Research Institute (UWRI) have an agreement to collaborate regarding reciprocal benefits and joint actions related to water resources research and practice in North America. The focal point for collaboration is the newly formed and US-based Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management (ncimm.org). 

Under an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency, ncimm.org has been created to provide sustainable research, development and outreach for water infrastructure modeling, initially focusing on two foremost modelling tools – known around the world by the acronyms EPA SWMM and EPANET.

NCIMM banner_v1

Center for Infrastructure Modeling & Management: “British Columbia experience in whole-system, water balance based approaches in the Pacific Northwest adds a critical combination of tools and understanding to the water resources toolbox,” states Dr. Charles Rowney, Director of Operations

Cross-border collaboration opens the door to sharing and learning

Ted van der Gulik_VWP4921_trimmed_120pThe Partnership for the Water Sustainability is excited to enter into an agreement with the Urban Watershed Research Institute (UWRI) to collaborate in the advancement of water resources research and practice in North America. The focal point for this collaboration is found at ncimm.org,” states Ted van der Gulik, President.

“This is a mutually beneficial strategic partnership founded on strong human links.  Since 2005, Dr. Charles Rowney has been the Partnership’s Scientific Authority. And, as the Center’s Director of Operations, Charles is a driving force behind ncimm.org.  In addition, Jim Dumont, our Engineering Applications Authority, now sits on the Center’s panel of expert advisors.”

Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management established because……

“Used for decades world-wide, either stand alone or as a component of other technologies, SWMM and EPANET have filled a role that remains highly relevant today, and this will continue for some time to come,” states Dr. Charles Rowney.

CharlesRowney_2016This longevity is a tribute to the many individuals who defined needs, developed solutions, contributed code, and promulgated best practices in this technical practice area. We need to ensure these hallmarks of professional practice are maintained, promoted, and developed going forward. 

“The expectations and needs of users have evolved, so the tools and their support mechanisms must evolve as well.  Also, emerging practices in software development, particularly in the open source arena, define both a need and an opportunity for action.

“The new Center has been set up as a sustainable undertaking, founded on participation by users, vendors, owners, regulators, academics, and professional societies, which will support the continued development and maintenance of the tools, with a strong emphasis on open source contributions coupled with solid QC, training and support functions.

Synergies in Action

“It is the combination of diverse needs, ideas and solutions that will make this vision for the Center work,” continues Dr. Rowney.  “That is one of the reasons we’re so pleased with the agreement just reached with the Partnership for Water Sustainability.  We have many needs in common, and many ideas to share.

“British Columbia’s Water Balance Model is an outstanding initiative, and I think it is clearly unique in the way it has delivered technology for water resource practitioners on-line dating back to 2003.

“The current industry-wide move to on-line computation, propelled by changing approaches to software delivery as a multitude of enterprises commit to The Cloud, is hugely important.

“The leadership shown by the British Columbia Partnership for Water Sustainability in decisively moving in this direction well over a decade ago has led to a body of knowledge from which others can learn,” concludes Dr. Rowney.

Whole-System, Water Balance Approach:

“Cross-border collaboration through ncimm.org opens new doors for the Partnership for Water Sustainability. The Water Balance Model’s QUALHYMO calculation engine is now linkable with SWMM to fill a need in watershed assessment and setting of performance targets for a whole-system, water balance approach to restoring and protecting watershed health,” states Jim Dumont.

Jim-Dumont1_June2015_DSC_0538_500pWatershed protection starts with an understanding of how water gets to a stream, and how long it takes. Protection of watershed and stream health in the urban environment ultimately depends on maintaining the natural proportion of rainwater entering streams via three pathways: overland runoff, shallow interflow and deep groundwater flow.

“The innovation of the Water Balance Methodology is in the way it integrates and applies standard scientific and engineering principles to address these components in ways which are not typically applied in planning and design of municipal infrastructure.

“Tools like SWMM and QUALHYMO can enable the hydrologic computations; it is up to us to recognize the need, and to deliver tools that facilitate the analysis.  I expect that discussions about methodology will be as much a part of the new Center as the development of new code,” concludes Jim Dumont.

DID YOU KNOW THAT: In the 1980s, Dr. Charles Rowney developed QUALHYMO, a continuous quality/quantity model with watershed, receiving stream and BMP (best management practice) components. QUALHYMO is the hydrologic calculation engine for British Columbia’s web-based Water Balance Model.

Benefits of Whole-System, Water Balance Approach Less flooding, less stream erosion, more streamflow when needed most. And the results will be: Avoid an unfunded liability. Adapt to a changing climate.

Benefits of Whole-System, Water Balance Approach:
Less flooding, less stream erosion, more streamflow when needed most. And the results will be: Avoid an unfunded liability. Adapt to a changing climate.