Hydrologic Information Sharing Pilot

This project is currently in concept development.
What is it?  A virtual observatory system for water resources information from observations and forecasts in the U.S. and Canada, building on current networks and capabilities, designed to support these functions:

  • Hydrologic modeling for historical, current and future streamflow and inundation conditions.  Requires the integration of trans-boundary streamflow data from multiple agencies, and incorporates management decisions on withdrawals and returns for scenario analysis.  Emphasis on time series data and real-time flood monitoring.
  • Modeling and assessment of nutrient flux into the lakes.  Requires accessing water-quality data from multiple agencies and integrating with streamflow information for calculating loads. Emphasis on discrete sampled water quality observations, linking those to specific NHD stream reaches and catchments, and additional metadata for sampled data.
  • Capability to select (sub-set) a representative set of monitoring sites that can serve as virtual network of reference locations to support water quality and quantity trend analysis.  Requires accessing observational data from monitoring sites in different formats accessed through different protocols.  Emphasis on integration and filtering by geography and rules based on expert judgment.

A key objective of these use cases is to link observations data to the stream network. This means coordinating these different information models to improve the hydrologic modeling capabilities.
Why do it now?  Improved capabilities for sharing, accessing, and integrating hydrologic and climatic data have been identified as a critical need for some time.  We are at a point in time at which an opportunity exists to make large steps forward by leveraging existing resources – including data portals, standards, technologies, activities, and expertise – to develop an initial operational capability for the system described above.  
Expected Benefits

  • This pilot not only leverages a large body of existing related activities and key resources, those activities are guided by and benefit from the pilot outcomes.
  • Reduction of procurement risk through partnership-based development of an initial operating capability (vs. ~10x the cost for building a fully operational system using waterfall approach).
  • Identification and clarification of what is possible, and of the key technical and non-technical barriers to continued progress in sharing and integrating hydrologic and climatic information.
  • Promotes understanding and strengthens ties within the existing hydro-climatic community.

Tentative Schedule (TBC)
March 2012 - Release Request for Quotation / Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP)
May - Project Kickoff Meeting, Washington DC area
November - Completion of development and engineering reports