2017-issue 4-item 07 - Delft-FEWS
FEWS news: issue 4, 2017
Since the Netherlands is situated in a low-lying delta, information about the current and future state of the water system is of crucial importance, both to keep the country safe and to be able to use the water as efficiently as possible. The management of the larger water bodies in the Netherlands is the responsibility of Rijkswaterstaat, the executive agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. To be able to provide the required information Rijkswaterstaat relies on a software environment called RWsOS. One of the principal building blocks of this system is our Delft-FEWS software. The development and maintenance of the RWsOS, in which Deltares is a key partner, is a fascinating endeavour. On the one hand the system needs to cater for a wide variety of requirements, while on the other hand its set-up should be uniform and standardized where possible.
RWsOS: a multi-purpose toolbox
RWsOS is the (Dutch) abbreviation for Rijkswaterstaat clustered operational systems. At the core of the RWsOS are seven operational systems, six of which are based on Delft-FEWS. In addition, it includes a system for scheduled file transfer and it is connected to a forecast archive (MATROOS). Each of the operational systems focusses on a specific region (namely: the North Sea, the lakes IJsselmeer and Markermeer, the estuarine region, and the rivers Rhine and Meuse) or application (specifically: drought forecasting, and the management of controlled water bodies). The main application of the region-specific systems is to provide an early warning service for extreme water levels, although the supply of information for other purposes, such as river and maritime transport, construction and recreation, has gained importance over the recent years.
The RWsOS depends on data provided by a large number of suppliers. In addition to the observations collected by Rijkswaterstaat itself, data is acquired from the Dutch water boards, multiple foreign water authorities, and the Dutch, German and French meteorological offices. The system brings together several sub-disciplines of environmental modelling, including hydrology, one- and two-dimensional hydrodynamics, data assimilation, and optimization. Information from the RWsOS is both shared internally within Rijkswaterstaat, as well as disseminated to the general public, the water boards, international partners, and other interested parties. The group of users and stake-holders involved in the RWsOS is thus large and relatively diverse. Contributing to its development is therefore an enriching experience.
RWsOS: a coherent operational system
Notwithstanding the difference in requirements for each of the operational systems, Rijkswaterstaat has recognized the importance of uniformity. This allows for efficient maintenance of the system, leads to shared benefits from developments, and improves the internal and external communication of results.
The common use of the Delft-FEWS software contributes significantly to the coherence of the RWsOS, while it is still sufficiently configurable to tailor each operational system to needs of its users. In addition, the clustered systems benefit from a single file transfer solution, a common archive and various standardized dissemination portals, such as waterinfo.rws.nl.
The maintenance and development of the RWsOS has been set up such that generic solutions are favoured. As an example, the forecast performance functionality is currently being redeveloped and extended. The result will be that each system uses the same measures of forecast performance, and that results are presented in uniform reports, in order to facilitate easy intercomparison.
We have just started the planning phase for next year's activities. I am looking forward to help Rijkswaterstaat with the adaption of the RWsOS to changing requirements in a sustainable way.