News from the community

FEWS news: issue 1, 2017


Getting a prototype running before the snow starts to melt

Last week we initiated a new pilot-project to develop a prototype application of Delft-FEWS in the province of Alberta, Canada. The Alberta Environment and Parks agency are already providing forecasts and warnings to users across the province, but they are now looking at how they can improve the service they provide, as well as reduce the laborious process they go through when developing their daily forecasts.
In Alberta things heat up in the River Forecasting Centre hosted by the agency during the spring snowmelt season, with things staying busy across the summer when convective and orographic events may cause intense precipitation and flash floods. Winter is a time to take stock and work on improvements. Being able to develop forecasts more efficiently will help the agency spend more time on interpreting forecasts and improving warning communication. 
To find out which of the forecasting platforms currently on the market would best meet Alberta's needs, they have asked three suppliers, including Deltares, to develop a prototype forecasting system and try to prove that their platform would suit those needs best. Just last week we were in Edmonton, Alberta to kick-start this project. We will start on the Elbow River, which runs off the Rocky Mountains to join the Bow River in the city of Calgary, a major city in Southern Alberta that suffered significant flooding in 2013. We hope that with our experience in forecasting and warning, supported by Delft-FEWS, that we will be selected to expand from that one basin, to all basins across the province. There may also be links to other initiatives Deltares is already involved in Alberta on managing groundwater resources and in assessing flood risk in the province. In any case, the Deltares team needs to work quickly. By March our prototype needs to be finished so that decisions can be made on how to move forward, before this year's snow starts to melt and things again becomes busy forecasting.
Photo: The City of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada from across the frozen North Saskatchewan River