Columbia Basin Water Hub

Columbia Basin Water Hub
The Columbia Basin Water Hub is a central platform where water data is easily accessible to anyone who needs it, whether it's high-level decision makers for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, researchers, community volunteers or members of the public wanting to learn more about their watershed. Through this database, a range of datasets, including water quantity and quality, groundwater levels, wetland monitoring, snow surveys, glacier studies, reports, images and various other forms of knowledge are available.

Columbia Basin Water Hub


Key Takeaways:

  1. The Water Hub is a central place where decision makers, researchers, students, professionals and the public can access a wide variety of data and information about water in the Columbia Basin. The Water Hub will support data-driven decision making in the Columbia Basin, building a holistic and transparent approach to water management.
  2. Data can be submitted by community-based monitoring groups, by municipal, regional or First Nations governments, the private sector, or academia. Data can also be linked to existing databases.
  3. In 2018, Living Lakes Canada facilitated a dialogue regarding the logistics needed to fill the important water data gaps identified in the Columbia Basin. The development of the open-source Columbia Basin Water Hub and affiliated Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative were initiated.

Through the Columbia Basin Water Hub, water data is made readily available to those who need to access it. Given the mounting pressures on fresh water, water data is critical for decision making, not only for human and industrial uses, but also for functioning ecosystems. 

The Water Hub contains numerical and spatial data, reports, photos and other types of information about streams, lakes, wetlands, groundwater, snow, glaciers and climate in the Columbia Basin both historical and current. The data is accessible for decision makers, researchers, students, professionals and the public. 

Available resources include water quality and temperature data, hydrometric data, Foreshore Integrated Management Planning spatial data and reports, geotechnical assessments, conservation recommendations, wildlife surveys and more. 

The database continues to grow as organizations, governments, consultants and industry contribute their data. Having a centralized regional  database means that data that has been collected by a variety of parties can easily be accessed and compared. This facilitates increased collaboration and reduction of duplicated effort as groups are more aware of parallel monitoring activities occurring in their regional and local watersheds of interest. 

The database is user friendly and adheres to FAIR principles (Finable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). Templates are provided to user groups to ensure that the data is provided in a consistent format. 

The Water Hub will support data-driven decision making in the Columbia Basin, building a holistic and transparent approach to water management.

Visit cbwaterhub.ca.


BACKGROUND

Climate change, in addition to human and industrial use, is impacting freshwater supply world-wide. In the face of these pressures, collecting, sharing and using water data to help monitor water use and distribution is essential. This information is used to balance the freshwater needs of citizens, industry and ecosystem services via ecosystem health. 

In 2018,  Living Lakes Canada facilitated a dialogue regarding the logistics needed to fill the important water data gaps identified in the Columbia Basin. The development of the open source Columbia Basin Water Hub and affiliated Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative were initiated to coordinate a collaborative approach to water data collection, analysis, sharing and storage in the Columbia Basin. This involved volunteer and paid steering committee members, various agencies, industry, academia and community organizations with the participation and collaboration of First Nations.

The CKAN platform was chosen for the database, and a web developer was contracted to deploy the site and incorporate custom features which were identified through the guiding reports and during the consultation process. Iterative testing of the database with different user groups from around the Basin was undertaken, and QA/QC procedures were developed. 

In the summer of 2020 as progress was being made towards finalizing the Columbia Basin Water Hub, Living Lakes Canada convened an online workshop of 50 senior hydrologists from federal and provincial governments, academia, and industry to propose a science-based approach for prioritizing and collecting important water data in the Basin (Priority Monitoring Matrix) and outlined next steps through a Terms of Reference and accompanying budget for the monitoring required over the next decade.

The Columbia Basin Water Hub officially launched to the public in March 2021.


SHARING DATA

Data can be submitted by community-based monitoring groups, by municipal, regional or First Nations governments,  the private sector, or academia. Data can also be linked to existing databases.  This provides an excellent platform for those who have collected data to share their work, allowing it to be accessed and used for decision making. 

The data sharing process has helped numerous stewardship groups to organize their records, standardize their data management practices, and showcase their data and that their data is held in a repository to ensure longevity. Click here to learn more about the groups that are currently contributing data to the Water Hub and explore the resources that they have shared. 

The Water Hub’s platform supports data governance, allowing users to add, modify or remove their own data at any time, and determine whether their data is available publicly, or only to designated individuals. Data sharing agreements are customizable, allowing contributors to determine how they would like their data to be shared. Through these methods, the Water Hub strives to adhere to OCAP® principles and our data sharing process can be adjusted to reflect the values and needs of each contributor. 

“Data” is not limited to spreadsheets of numerical data. Our database can also display reports, photos, videos,  spatial files, information related to place-based Indigenous knowledge systems, external links and more. 

If your organization is interested in sharing data or resources with the Water Hub, please contact us. Our database team is available to assist with every step of the process, and has created many resources to make the process simple.


APPLICATIONS OF THE WATER HUB

The data hosted by the Columbia Basin Water Hub can be used in a variety of applications. 

When implementing the Priority Monitoring Matrix, the Water Hub will be vital in assessing where water monitoring is currently occurring, identifying local reference group participants, and conducting watershed analysis. 

The data can be used to inform Official Community Plans, regulations, restoration projects, the creation of water quality objectives or climate adaptation and mitigation activities. 

Hydrometric data is critical in assessing the availability and timing of flows, and the subsequent development of water budgets for streams and rivers which communities, industry and ecosystems rely on.


CONTACT

Direct questions about the Columbia Basin Water Hub to Applied Innovation & Technology Manager Santiago Botero: santiago@livinglakescanada.ca or Database & Community Engagement Coordinator Paige Thurston: paige@livinglakescanada.ca.

OCAP® is a registered trademark of the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC).

Columbia Basin Water Hub

Status - Active


Categories


Water Bodies
GroundwaterLakesRivers, Creeks and StreamsSnowWetlands
Regions
British ColumbiaColumbia BasinNational
Collaborators
AcademiaCommunity groupsFNGovernment – FederalGovernment – ProvincialIndustryMunicipalityRegional District
Types of Work
Citizen ScienceCommunity Based MonitoringDataMonitoringPolicyProtocol Development

News and Updates


Resources


Funders


Digital Technology Supercluster Watersheds BC
Real Estate Foundation Columbia Basin Trust
RBC Royal Bank Sitka Foundation
Vancouver Foundation Make Way