USGS, Canada develop new advanced website to better monitor streamflow conditions
In an international collaboration, the U.S. Geological Survey and Water Survey of Canada have produced the North America WaterWatch, new online website that displays streamflow conditions throughout much of North America.
Nov. 4, 2014 -- In an international collaboration, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Water Survey of Canada (WSC) have officially produced the North America WaterWatch (NAWW), a new online website that displays streamflow conditions throughout much of North America. The widescale partnership was announced at the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) annual conference in Tysons Corner, Va.
Marking another milestone achieved through the cooperation between USGS and WSC, NAWW provides a fast, easy-to-use, cartographically-based, central web interface for users to access real-time streamflow conditions for both Canada and the United States. The data on the website is updated hourly, and daily statistics are updated quarterly. Further, the website can be accessed online in both English and French.
"North America WaterWatch delivers easily understandable maps and graphics of streamflow conditions and, simultaneously, provides access to real-time and past streamflow data at thousands of streamgages in both nations," said Jerad Bales, USGS chief scientist for water. "The portal demonstrates the value of free exchange of water-data through interoperable web services, which is a major strategic focus of the USGS through open-water data activities."
The NAWW site is arranged similarly to USGS Water Watch. Real-time instantaneous flow data are compared against historical daily streamflow percentiles at hydrometric monitoring stations. The stations are then color-coded on the map to indicate current flow conditions in relation to normal conditions based on statistical thresholds (i.e., much below normal, below normal, normal, above normal, much above normal, and high.
The timely availability of these streamflow indicators is vital to water managers and the general public, as the easily-recognized indicators constitute a direct link between hydrological field information and the assessment of risks. NAWW displays streamflow conditions in Canada for about 1,000 real-time flow stations with more than 20 years of continuous streamflow records selected from three different data sources: the Water Survey of Canada (~850), Centre d'expertise hydrique du Québec (~100), and Alberta Environment (~60). Streamflow conditions in the U.S. are shown for roughly 8,000 real-time flow stations.