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 they are a high-level decision maker, a researcher, or a member 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


Through the Columbia Basin Water Hub, water data is made readily available to support the development of a Basin-wide water balance approach for subsequent water budgeting needed by decision makers for watershed management in an era of climate impacts to hydrological flows. Water data is important given the mounting pressures on fresh water, for not only human and industrial uses, but also for functioning ecosystems.

The Water Hub is a central place where water-related data relevant to Columbia Basin can be collected and stored by community groups and or local, regional and First Nations governments. Throughout this database, a range of datasets, from water quantity and quality, groundwater, snow surveys, glacier studies, wetland related literature and studies are included, and Columbia Basin First Nations Traditional Knowledge can also be made available if the Nation has determined so. In this way, data collected over the years will be housed in a central repository and not get lost or disappear once a data collecting project has completed.

The Water Hub will help to provide 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. 

In 2006, the Pacific Impacts Consortium (PCIC) report for Columbia Basin Trust, Preliminary Analysis of Climate Variability and Change in the Canadian Columbia River Basin: Focus on Water Resources, identified the importance of programs required for water data collection to fill important water data gaps allowing for more informed decision making by all levels of government. A follow up report by PCIC in 2013, Climate Extremes in the Canadian Columbia Basin: A Preliminary Assessment, predicted many of the climate change impacts we are currently experiencing in the Columbia Basin.

In 2017, a report released by the Trust identified the current state of knowledge of water quality and quantity in the Columbia Basin. The report, Water Monitoring and Climate in the Upper Columbia Basin, Summary of Current Status and Opportunities, highlights data gaps, a need for a coordinated monitoring effort, and a “streamlined archival and retrieval technologies” for water data. This report prompted Living Lakes Canada to organize and co-convene a conference in late 2017 — An Open Source Data Dialogue Towards a Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework — where the need for a water monitoring framework and data hub was agreed upon by the water data experts from around North America who were in attendance.

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.

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 outline next steps.

Different categories of data that are important to monitoring groups within the Columbia Basin were then identified along with the creation of a user manual that guides database users. Iterative testing of the database with different user groups from around the Basin was finalized, and data governance was defined, which includes ensuring provincial and national metadata standards will be met by user groups. The data hub is inclusive, accessible, with quality datasets that meet provincial water data standards and is available to individuals, communities, and decision making groups.


SHARING DATA

Data can be submitted by community-based monitoring groups or by municipal, regional or First Nations governments. Data can also be linked to existing Provincial and Federal databases. In this way, data collected by a variety of organizations and institutions will be housed in a central repository and will not be lost once data collection has concluded. The public, researchers and decision makers can easily access the information that they are interested in.

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 streamline the data sharing process.


CONTACT

Direct questions about the Columbia Basin Water Hub to Database Manager Santiago Botero: santiago@livinglakescanada.ca

Columbia Basin Water Hub

Status - Active


Categories


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

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