Inter-Provincial Partnership develops Technical Manual to meet information needs of Water Balance Model users
Note to Reader:
This article is the third in a series of funding announcements about work-in-progress that will materially enhance the capabilities of the Water Balance Model for Canada. Previously, the additions of a Water Re-Use from Storage Module and a Stream Erosion Module were announced.
The Plan for the Future
In November 2009, the British Columbia Inter-Governmental Partnership (BCIGP) and Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership (ALIDP) jointly released a blueprint document titled Water Balance Model for Canada – The Plan for the Future.
Water Balance Model powered by QUALHYMO
The Water Balance Model comprises two distinct components: the web-based user interface; and the QUALHYMO engine.
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.
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.
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.
Need for WBM Technical Manual
“The community of users has been asking for a technical manual that documents the intelligent WBM interface that translates user information into data used by the QUALHYMO engine,” states Richard Boase, BCIGP Co-Chair.
“Under a federal/provincial agreement with British Columbia, the RAC program has provided funding for manual development. ALIDP is also making a financial contribution. The manual will be ready by mid-2010.”
“The lens for manual development is the engineering user who wants to follow the numbers from the WBM interface keystroke to the QUALHYMO file. In a nutshell, it is all about data mapping.”
“When completed, the WBM Technical Manual and the existing QUALHYMO Manual will be companion documents, and will have a similar look-and-feel. To the extent practical, we will hot link the two for ease of access to explanatory information about model parameters
“The WBM Technical Manual will be web-based. We anticipate that it will also be a ‘living document’ that can be readily updated as new modules are added and/or the desirability for supplementary explanatory information arises,” concludes Richard Boase.
What Differentiates the Water Balance Model from Other Tools
“The Water Balance Model differs from other drainage modelling tools in three fundamental ways: it is web-based; development is driven by the community of users; and it can help create a vision of the future watershed,” continues Dr. Charles Rowney, Scientific Authority.
“All three are powerful in their own rights. There is no other comparable web-based tool. Also, the needs and wants of the user community establish priorities for model evolution.”
“This is the main reason why many of the enhancements that we will be implementing over the next three years are capabilities not currently available in commercial software.”
Creating a Watershed Vision
To gain an appreciation for the power of ‘what if’ comparisons in creating a watershed vision, click on the following links to read stories posted elsewher on the Water Bucket:
- Water Balance Model can create an understanding of the past and compare it to many possible futures: A key message is that the Water Balance Model is a ‘scenario comparison tool’. There is no restriction on the scenarios that a user may choose to compare. This means users can compare what was lost to what might have been, and in so doing create a vision of the future watershed.
- District of North Vancouver’s Bold Vision: Restore the Rainfall Capture Capacity of the Urban Landscape, One Property at a Time: The catalyst for pending action is the current incremental impact of property redevelopment on stream health. North Shore watersheds have been experiencing death by a thousand cuts as the house footprint has grown larger and larger over the decades.
About the RAC Program
Recognizing the importance of acting now to effectively respond to the impacts posed by a changing climate, Natural Resources Canada has created the Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RAC) program. The program supports focused collaboration at the regional level among government, non-government decision-makers, and technical experts to facilitate regional adaptation planning and decision-making.
Under a federal/provincial agreement with British Columbia, the RAC program has made a 3-year funding commitment to expand the capabilities of the web-based Water Balance Model for Canada. This financial support will enable the Inter-Provincial Partnership to substantially implement a $500,000 program.