An online water data tool developed with funding from energy industry associations provides detailed hydrology information for every stream, river and lake in west-central Alberta.
The Alberta Water Tool integrates multiple data sources, allowing users to quickly retrieve information that might otherwise take weeks to produce.
Using an intuitive map-based interface, users can generate a detailed report for a given area describing: existing water uses; estimated timing and volume of natural supply; and water needs of the environment; all within the watershed context.
The tool follows the approach successfully employed in the development of the B.C. Northeast Water Tool (NEWT) which has been recognized with innovation awards for contributions to sustainable water management.
The tool, available to water users, regulators and the public, was created with the support of the Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF), Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) and Tecterra.
Providing open access to the tool capitalizes on the more than $1.5 million invested by PTAC through AUPRF and 12 partner companies in the Integrated Assessment of Water Resources, West-Central Alberta project which ran from 2012-2014, in support of sustainable, transparent water decision making in Alberta.
A conservative estimate of the value of each report to an end user is $5,000. Usage estimates for the Alberta Water Tool under an open-access model could be expected to provide a value to the Alberta economy at up to $30 million per year, according to PTAC.
The Alberta Water Tool is free to use for industry and can be accessed at http://alberta-watertool.com .