US, November 5, 2014: In a joint effort, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Water Survey of Canada (WSC) have launched the North America WaterWatch (NAWW), an online website that displays streamflow conditions in Canada and North America. The NAWW site is arranged similarly to USGS Water Watch.
The site provides a fast, easy-to-use, cartographically-based, central web interface for users to access real-time streamflow conditions for both Canada and the United States. "North America WaterWatch delivers easily understandable maps and graphics of streamflow conditions and, simultaneously, provides access to real-time and past streamflow data at thousands of streamgages in both nations,” said Jerad Bales, USGS Chief Scientist for Water. “The portal demonstrates the value of free exchange of water-data through interoperable web services, which is a major strategic focus of the USGS through open-water data activities."
Real-time instantaneous flow data are compared against historical daily streamflow percentiles at hydrometric monitoring stations. The stations are then colour coded on the map to indicate current flow conditions in relation to normal conditions based on statistical thresholds (i.e. much below normal, below normal, normal, above normal, much above normal, and high). The timely availability of these streamflow indicators is vital to water managers and the general public, as the easily-recognised indicators constitute a direct link between hydrological field information and the assessment of risks.
The international collaboration was announced at the American Water Resources Association annual conference in Tysons Corner, Virginia.