SMITHERS - First Nations, industry and members of the public can now access science-based information on water supply in the northwest region of B.C. with the release of the Northwest Water Tool, a leading edge, GIS-based program that supports decision-making on water use planning and approvals.
Traditional hydrologic data analysis requires up to a week to generate information to prepare and adjudicate water licence applications in B.C. With the Northwest Water Tool, users can get information within five minutes.
Water licence applicants can use the information from the Northwest Water Tool to help them fill out water licence applications. Likewise, regional water managers can use the information to support them in making water allocation decisions.
Building on the success of the award-winning Northeast Water Tool released in 2013, the Northwest Water Tool summarizes information on all water-use approvals and provides decision-makers with guidance on minimum environmental flows and potential water supply in a format that is transparent, readily accessible and easily interpreted.
The Northwest Water Tool uses innovative technology to produce data on existing water users in each watershed, estimates of stream flow for rivers, lakes and streams, watershed characteristics such as land cover, climate and impacts from predicted future climate change across the Northwest. The Northwest Water Tool generates streamflow information for any given point on a river system in the watersheds of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers, as well as portions of the Yukon.
Developed by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, together with Foundry Spatial Ltd., the Ministry of Environment and the BC Oil and Gas Commission, the Northwest Water Tool is unique in North America as a water-resource decision-support tool.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson -
“A healthy economy depends on a sustainable water supply. The Northwest Water Tool is another example of government’s commitment to providing the necessary information to support environmentally sustainable decision-making.”
- The information used in the Northwest Water Tool was developed through a modelling process which used 123 hydrometric stations in B.C., the Yukon and Alaska.
- The Northwest Water Tool allows users to generate reports describing the hydrology of over 1.1 million watersheds in the region.
- The Northwest Water Tool includes information on currently active short term approvals and long-term licences issued under the Water Act.
Northwest Water Tool: http://bcwatertool.ca/nwwt/
Northeast Water Tool: http://geoweb.bcogc.ca/apps/newt/newt.html
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations