3-year program will enhance the capabilities of the Water Balance Model for Canada
Enhancement of the Water Balance Model
The Inter-Provincial Partnership is proceeding with implementation of a $500,000 program over a 3-year period to expand the capabilities of the web-based Water Balance Model for Canada.
“The rapid growth and success of the present second generation of the Water Balance Model has fuelled a level of user interest and need that has made it clear that the time has come for the next bold leap forward in the evolution of our web-based tool,” states Ted van der Gulik, Chair of the Inter-Provincial Partnership.
“Our goal in constantly improving the Water Balance Model is to serve an ever widening range of user sophistication and problem-solving capabilities. Among the many enhancements that will be implemented over the next three years are capabilities not currently available in commercial software.”
The Inter-Provincial Partnership currently comprises the British Columbia Inter-Governmental Partnership that developed the Water Balance Model, and the Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership (ALIDP). The Inter-Provincial Partnership also has a working relationship with the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).
The Plan for the Future
To ensure that stakeholders are kept informed, the Inter-Provincial Partnership has released Water Balance Model for Canada – The Plan for the Future. This blueprint document will guide tool enhancement over the next three years.
“The Plan for the Future provides a concise synopsis of ‘need to know’ information about the Water Balance Model,” explains Ted van der Gulik. “It also presents a road map for greatly increasing both the computational capabilities of the Water Balance Model and its usability in visioning future alternatives for use of water and land.”
In British Columbia, context for the Water Balance Model is provided by Living Water Smart and the Green Communities Initiative.
“In Alberta, the Water for Life Strategy and Land Stewardship Act provide a framework for efforts that will help Alberta achieve a better balance between economic growth and environmental / social values,” states Liliana Bozic, ALIDP Vice-Chair.
To Learn More:
Download a copy of the Water Balance Model for Canada – The Plan for the Future.
Water Balance Model Enhancement
“Pending improvements to the Water Balance Model have been identified through user and stakeholder input,” continues Jim Dumont, Engineering Applications Authority for the Inter-Provincial Partnership. “These enhancements comprise a series of linked improvements that form the backbone of the ‘road map’ for the future.”
The Inter-Provincial Partnership’s Plan for the Future comprises four tracks. According to Jim Dumont, three tracks are technical in scope while the fourth is educational:
1. Climate Change Track
2. Watershed Enhancement Track
3. Enhanced User Interface Track
4. Outreach and Continuing Education Track
“Implementation of The Plan for the Future will allow a single analysis tool to be used from planning through design; and in this way the flow of intent and information will be seamless, while maintaining integrity in process.”
About the Water Balance Model
“The WBM was created to provide information to a multiple of users with wide range of technical backgrounds; ranging from little technical knowledge to hydrologic experts. As a result the WBM interface has been developed with a restricted number of data variables,” explains Jim Dumont.
“An expert in hydrology may find this restriction to be limiting. For this reason, an Expert Interface will be implemented as a future enhancement.”
“The WBM interface has embedded within it the climate data, land use and surface cover provided by supporting municipalities, standardized data entry and reporting systems along with some basic data processing capability. It is the interface that accepts the user data and prepares it for use by the QUALHYMO engine, and then formats the calculation results into a standard reporting format.”
“QUALHYMO simply does the calculations using the data file input created by the WBM interface, and then hands back the calculation results to the WBM interface. A user could perform the same calculations without using the WBM interface, and simply use QUALHYMO as a standalone computer program. However, we believe that there is a substantial benefit in saving of time and effort through use of the collected and verified data in combination with the standardized reporting for regulatory reviews and approvals.”
“Over time, we envision that we will expose more QUALHYMO features in order to provide the power users with enhanced capabilities when they apply the Water Balance Model,” adds Ted van der Gulik.
“Our immediate priority in promoting use of the Water Balance Model is to provide a bridge between engineering and planning that ultimately influences the greening of the built environment.”