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North American Water Watch Now Online

IJC admin | 2017/05/19

By Kevin Strauss, IJC


The International Joint Commission has set an initiative to provide the public with information on short-term streamflow conditions and how they compare to historic conditions in an interactive, easy-to-use interface. In partnership with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Environment and Climate Change Canada’s North American Water Watch team, we have created the IJC’s own North American Water Watch portal, an interactive map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of year.

A screenshot of the portal.
A screenshot of the portal.

North American Water Watch features a map depicting short-term changes in streamflow conditions, computed at USGS stream gauges. The color of each stream gauge represents real-time streamflow compared to percentiles of historical daily streamflow for that day of the year.  When these stream gauges on the map are clicked, a pop-up appears with pertinent gauge information including a summary of gauge statistics, a graph of gauge discharge, a flood tracking chart and the gauges flooding forecast.

An example of a pop-up summary.
An example of a pop-up summary.

To navigate to a specific stream gauge, click or zoom to a specific region, or use the drop-down menus to navigate through states, provinces, water reservoir regions and Canadian river basins. Once zoomed into the specific region of interest, the map data can be downloaded as a KML file by clicking the “Download Data” button.

We hope this streamflow map model will provide users with easy-to-access information and would like to thank members of the USGS North American Water Watch team for their support throughout this endeavor.

Kevin Strauss was a GIS co-op student with the Ottawa section of the International Joint Commission. He is currently pursuing a degree in geological engineering at the University of Waterloo.

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