Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative

Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative
The Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative is an NGO-led, collaborative project that has developed a comprehensive, scaled and nested approach for water monitoring to support efforts of decision makers to better address community and ecosystem climate adaptation options in the Canadian Columbia Basin.

Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative


Key Takeaways:

  1. In 2017, a report released by the Trust identified the current state of knowledge of water quality and quantity in the Columbia Basin. 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.
  2. After the conference and report findings LLC facilitated the development of Living Lakes Canada facilitated the development of the open-source Columbia Basin Water Hub database and Monitoring Collaborative concept.
  3. A Terms of Reference document was finalized in April 2021 and the development of a Priority Monitoring Matrix is currently underway, which will establish a comprehensive Water Monitoring Framework for the Canadian Columbia Basin.

Access the Conference Summary

The Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative (Monitoring Collaborative) is the current iteration of the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework and Data Hub Initiative that got underway in November 2017 when Living Lakes Canada co-hosted the Open Source Data Dialogue Towards a Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework conference to envision a water monitoring framework for the Canadian Columbia Basin.

Since the 2017 conference, a database based on CKAN open source software has been developed. The Columbia Basin Water Hub formally launched in March 2021 (visit the project page here).  

In June 2020, LLC convened and facilitated a hydrology workshop with the purpose of developing recommendations for a phased expansion of the monitoring network for the Upper (Canadian) Columbia Basin (UCB). The workshop objectives were:

  • to develop criteria for selecting (priority) watersheds to be included in a regional watershed monitoring network;
  • identify monitoring needs related to scientific objectives;
  • to develop a process for ranking monitoring needs in terms of both site locations and measured parameters;
  • and describe a potential phased implementation.

Greg Utzig, PAg, and Dr. Martin Carver, PEng/PGeo, PAg, provided a proposed approach to expanding the UCB monitoring network, and then the workshop participants actively engaged with the proposal, providing feedback on how it might be improved and implemented. The workshop proceedings are available here.

Based on the workshop proceedings, a Terms of Reference document was finalized in April 2021 and the development of a Priority Monitoring Matrix is currently underway, which will establish a comprehensive Water Monitoring Framework for the Canadian Columbia Basin.


CLIMATE IMPACTS IN THE COLUMBIA BASIN

In June 2020, a University of British Columbia study was published, Detecting the Effects of Sustained Glacier Wastage on Streamflow in Variably Glacierized Catchments, that suggests the glacier-melt contributions to August runoff have already passed peak water in the Canadian Columbia Basin. The analysis indicates that there is a clear declining trend, which can have implications for streamflow forecasting and summer water temperature response during hot, dry weather (see the BC Drought Map that classified the East and West Kootenay basins as Level 2 “dry” this past summer; and currently the East Kootenay as Level 2).

The increased frequency of extreme events and the projected decreases in low flows both suggest some urgency for a more comprehensive  monitoring network be implemented in order to understand the hydrological  and water quality  changes, and  to mitigate and adapt to the growing risks of changes in flow regimes.


BACKGROUND

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.

Working off information from the aforementioned reports and conference proceedings, Living Lakes Canada facilitated the development of the open source Columbia Basin Water Hub database and Monitoring Collaborative concept, a multi-year process involving volunteer and paid steering committee members, various agencies, industry, academia and community organizations. with the participation and collaboration of First Nations.


CONTACT

To learn more, contact Living Lakes Canada Executive Director Kat Hartwig: kat@livinglakescanada.ca

 

Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative

Status - Active


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

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