New Hydrologic Modelling to Assist with Water Allocation Decisions
(NTS 93I, 93O, 93P, 94A, 94B, 94G, 94H, 94I, 94J, 94K, 94M, 94N, 94O, 94P)
- A. Chapman (BC Oil & Gas Commission) and Ben Kerr (Foundry Spatial)

(From July 14, 2011 news release) - The BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) and Geoscience BC are partnering on a hydrologic modelling project that will provide water allocation decision support for oil and gas activities in B.C. The project will provide accurate hydrology data and information to reference during the review of applications for oil and gas water use.

"To enhance knowledge of the water supply in northeast B.C., the Commission has developed a hydrology modelling approach that uses gridded climate, topography and land cover information to produce estimates of monthly, seasonal and annual stream flow for rivers and lakes in the province," says Commission hydrologist Allan Chapman. "We think it will be an excellent tool to help Commission staff and other natural resource agencies manage water allocation in B.C. As well, it will provide a foundation to communicate and discuss water allocation decisions with the public, First Nations, and other stakeholders."

The Commission completed a pilot study using this type of hydrology modelling in the Horn River Basin in March 2011. Following the release of the pilot study results at the Unconventional Gas Technical Forum in April, the hydrology modelling is now being completed for all of northeast B.C. Geoscience BC is providing $50,000 in funding for the project.

"Geoscience BC is very pleased to be supporting this hydrologic modelling project," says Dr. 'Lyn Anglin, President and CEO of Geoscience BC. "This work is an excellent complement to the industry-partnered water research projects that we have underway in the Horn River Basin and the Montney Play, and will help us to develop a better understanding of the overall water resource in northeast B.C."

Work on the hydrologic modelling was completed in December 2011. The final product is called "NEWT Viewer", a geographical information system (GIS) decision-support tool that is a detailed resource for government, industry and stakeholders when looking at water use for oil and gas activities in northeast B.C. The link under Final Deliverables below brings the user directly to the NEWT Viewer. To see the BC Oil and Gas Commission web page dedicated to this tool, including instructions and frequently asked questions, click here.

In July 2013, on the back of the NEWT Project, Geoscience BC approved additional funding to develop a web-based tool to store, manage and interact with a variety of data related to water resource management to provide users with real-time access to water data for Northeast BC. This tool will be created through collection, compilation and analysis of specific data (archived and real-time), including hydrometric, weather, groundwater and other measurements and/or monitoring as required. Compilation of specific data will involve database structuring for BC surface and groundwater quality and quantity measurements. The "specific data" to be integrated includes Geoscience BC Horn River Basin hydrometric data (Part 2 of the Horn River Basin Project; a three-year project initiated in 2011), climate data from the Ministries of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Transportation and Highways, groundwater observation wells from the Ministry of Environment, water quality and quantity data from the BC Oil and Gas Commission as well as real-time data from other sources.

The data collection and compilation will lead to creation of a web-map based interface with flexible, interactive charting and analysis tools that compliment existing Oil and Gas Commission websites and tools, including NEWT.

In September 2013, the Northeast Water Tool won the Premier's Award for Innovation. Geoscience BC is proud to share this award with partners BC Oil and Gas Commission and Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Technical Articles
2012: "Hydrological modelling and decision-support tool development for water allocation, northeastern British Columbia"
- Summary of Activities 2011, Report 2012-1 p. 81-96 (pdf, 2.6 MB)
Final Deliverables
Northeast Water Tool (NEWT) Viewer
News Releases
September 16, 2013: Premier honours public servants in B.C.'s Interior and North

Show printable version of 'GBC Project 2011-011' in a New Window