Best practices

null The Dutch GO-FEWS community - GebruikersOverleg FEWS

The Dutch GO-FEWS community - GebruikersOverleg FEWS

Story about the Dutch GO-FEWS community in 2022
- by Roger de Crook & Marc Philippart

The timeline throughout the years

Since the early days of 2009 we started having a user meeting two times a year for Dutch waterboards only that was not organized by Deltares but was intended to share experiences with using Delft-FEWS. The main focus was using FEWS as Water Information System (WIS) with timeseries for as long back as the historical measurements were digitally available. We called it “GebruikersOverleg FEWS”, in short GO-FEWS.

Typical WIS-related subjects we talk about along the years:

  • validation of timeseries (primary, secondary and tertiary)

  • creating insightful plots (e.g. evaluation of water level policies, water balances, longitudinal profiles)

  • configuring imports for new types of measurements

  • single point of configuration of timeseries (synchronizing the sensor registration database, the GIS objects registration database and FEWS)

  • handling gridded datasets from remote sensing (e.g. precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, inundation, vegetation coverage)

  • connecting to webservices in order to exchange datasets

  • using standards for timeseries definition and naming conventions

  • performance issues (e.g. cascading amalgamates, relative view periods, expiry dates)

  • special support for water quality and ecology datasets (e.g. qualifiers, samples, limitation symbols)

Such meetings took the entire day (from 09:00 to 16:00) and consisted of mainly 5 parts (apart from a good lunch and a nice drink afterwards):

  1. each waterboard tells about the experiences of the past half year and the plans for the upcoming half year

  2. Deltares and intermediate parties like N&S and HKV were invited to present their current projects

  3. presentation of a FEWS-implementation by one of the waterboards

  4. discussion around one of the thematic subjects (see list above)

  5. exchange of ideas about new functionality (RFC’s)

Later in 2018 the scope of GO-FEWS expanded from “WIS-implementations only” to “also BOS-implementations”. BOS refers to “Beslissing Ondersteunend Systeem” which translates to “Decision Support System” in English. Therefore we splitted the meetings to fully focus on either WIS or BOS, but we started and ended each meeting together, had lunch together and also joined in listening to Deltares and the intermediates just before or after lunch.

Typical BOS-related subjects:

  • Maintenance

  • Data Assimilation

  • AI/ML/Data driven models

  • Validation and Calibration of models and input data

  • Meteo input

  • Ensemble modelling

  • Groundwater dynamics

  • Energy Saving optimalisation

  • Automated Alarms

Then came Corona in 2020 and we went online. Nowadays we still “come together”, but the online meetings are pretty exhausting from 09:00 to 13:00 (with just a short break around 11:00). Showing each other their particular configuration around a specific subject takes too long for the regular meetings, so we started organizing a separate HOWTO-meeting for that as well, which results in quarterly meetings that are planned carefully around the yearly planned activities of Deltares.

The secret of success

Why are we still together? There are no managers involved, only experts in monitoring and hydrology. The group is open, informal and relaxed. Some ingredients that are working quite good aside of the meetings are the use of the GO-FEWS mailing list (maintained by Deltares) and the FTP for exchanging configurations and documentation. Another typically Dutch thing of the GO-FEWS community is the joined funded development of new requested functionality, which results in less hesitation during the decision and financing process (each contribution is welcome, no matter how small). Sharing ideas and issues has lead to acceleration of enhancements within each organization.

We hope to expand the collaboration within the International FEWS community. By making more effort to organize co-creation in developments on the FEWS instrumentation, re-use of configuration and exchanging best practices. Apart from the Dutch waterboards also Rijkswaterstaat and two Belgian organizations have joined GO-FEWS recently. We will continu and intensify sharing our ideas and knowledge in the years to come!

Within the Netherlands we all depend on each other in operational water management. Exchange of measurements and forecasts is crucial for safe and efficient watermanagement. Rijkswaterstaat is in charge of the main waters and Waterboards control the regional waters. And they all use FEWS for their water management, either as BOS or as WIS.