INTEGRATED SCIENCE AND WATERSHED MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (ISWMSâ„¢)

Introduction
 
Development of sophisticated flood forecasting and early warning systems is both a critical element and significant computational challenge for managers of water resource systems across the globe. Effective systems combine numerous complex modeling tools, e.g., climate forecast models, hydrologic models, hydraulic models and geo-visual inundation models, to ultimately produce “timely visual forecasts” of water levels flood and inundation extents (with subsequent warning triggers). Such systems (typically) are computationally very expensive.
 
Moreover, modelled flood forecasts can have significant uncertainties, due to the underlying uncertainties associated with climate forecasts. Hence, it is imperative that flood forecasting systems be coupled with sophisticated machine learning algorithms and high performance computing infrastructures to: 1) quantify uncertainties associated with flood forecasts (and primarily due to underlying climate forecast uncertainties); and, 2) minimize run-time of the computationally expensive models embedded within the forecasting system.
 

ISWMS Pilot Watersheds Demonstration:


Latest Evolution (Year 2020 and Beyond)

ISWMS™ (Version ‘2’) is a fully functional web-based / open source GIS system for forecasting and visualizing flood extents in watersheds anywhere in Canada. ISWMS™ (v.2) automatically gathers Environment Canada open climate forecast databases (deterministic) and feeds them into sophisticated and computationally demanding hydrologic and hydraulic models to develop deterministic forecasts of water levels and inundation.
 
ISWMS™ (v.2) is deployed on a cloud (but is executed in serial-mode) and runs periodically (within hours) to develop flood forecasts for interactive web-based visualization and flood mitigation decision support. Also, given the Platform’s integration with HEC-HMS (hydrologic) and HEC-RAS (hydraulic) analytical models, ISWMS™ (v.2) has these unique attributes to:
 

  • Reduce flood damage risk and citizen health susceptibility from any river flood event and provide residents timely notifications / locations of at-risk areas from river flood events;
  • Empower municipalities and agencies to better manage flood mitigation and emergency access services and to reduce (or eliminate) their reliance on another organization that does use advanced river basin tools;
  • Enable municipalities to undertake (any time) proactive “What If” flood impact and mitigation scenarios and using available regional climate change models; and,
  • Enable municipalities to use the generated data for the basis of “defendable” land-use planning policies (resulting in climate-resilient growth & development) and for use by Insurance Industry partners too.


In January 2020, and part-of a multi-year software collaboration, GREENLAND® and University of Guelph (Canada), began the development of the next IoT Platform version of ISWMS™.
 
This research intends to develop a modeling extension that will allow ISWMS™ (v.2) to: 1) run efficiently on parallel compute clusters; and, 2) incorporate uncertainties associated with climate forecasts into flood extent forecasts of ISWMS™. This ISWMS™ Version ‘3’ is also referred to as “ISWMS™ - Smart”. Our team has also successfully leveraged parallel computing (via a prior project for CANWET™ and with deployment on a Cloud Analytics Platform) in developing an efficient web-based platform for calibration of hydrologic models. Our team intends to build upon this niche expertise and knowledge attained in the past software collaborations and to develop the first ISWMS™ - Smart prototype in 2020.
 
ISWMS™ - Smart will quantify any uncertainties in ISWMS™ (v.2) flood forecasts originating from the uncertainties inherent in the climate forecasts, by enabling ISWMS™ to run in parallel for different climate forecast scenarios. Therefore, a critical need for successful development of ISWMS™ - Smart is the development and testing of a parallel programming infrastructure for ISWMS™ to improve its efficiency. Consequently, the research pertaining to development of ISWMS™ - Smart requires continuous access to compute clusters designated for developing innovating computing solutions to complex problems. Moreover, ISWMS™ - Smart will include AI-based (machine learning) algorithms designed to optimize the use of computing resources during parallel runs of any ISWMS™ - Smart hydrologic and hydraulic models. Hence, secure (continuous) access to advanced computing resources will also be implemented to confirm the effectiveness of the new algorithms. This will also be key for future contractual partnerships too.
 


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Spatial-temporal resolution and complexity of earth data and human-environment interactions is continuously increasing, and demanding an improvement in complexity and efficiency of flood forecasting decision support systems. ISWMS™ - Smart will significantly improve the capability (by quantifying forecast uncertainty) and efficiency (via parallelization) of ISWMS™, allow the ISWMS™ decision support system to run on large watersheds, and consequently increase the applicability of the platform for new clients. Moreover, the computational efficiency of ISWMS™ - Smart also intends to reduce operational costs (of cloud computing services). Therefore, this next evolution of ISWMS™ will also be a “disruptive market advantage” for GREENLAND®.


ISWMS™: Background (2000 - 2019)

In 2000, the first Integrated Science and Watershed Management System (ISWMS) tool was completed by GREENLAND® as a windows-based ‘SWMM and OTTHYMO’ – based decision support system for urban land stormwater management; hydrological (continuous rainfall and design storm events) modelling; and, Canadian flood forecasting capabilities.

In 2003, GREENLAND® was retained to develop ISWMS™ (Version ‘1’) as a flood forecasting system for the 3,360km² Nottawasaga River Basin, located north of Toronto (Canada). It was then used for many years thereafter to prepare Subwatershed Management Plans in Ontario. In 2006, GREENLAND® began working on the next ISWMS™ (v.1) phases, including an open source GIS operational platform that was developed for a daily water balance, nutrient and sediment loading tool (CANWET™).

In 2010, the ISWMS™ program added new technical support partners affiliated with Canadian and U.S. universities. These independent scientists would later on assist GREENLAND® as a “science advisory team” for engineering projects that also used the company’s in-house tools.

In 2016, GREENLAND® formed a strategic alliance in Europe with private and public sector teams from Sweden and France and to initiate a new IoT Platform partnership. The initial goal was to develop a cloud-based flood forecasting, flood control and floodplain mapping system (called ISWMS™ - Version ‘2’) for watershed managers and regulatory agencies. The first collaboration was completed in 2019 and where the new web-based tool is being used now in Canada to identify real-time solutions that can minimize mixed rural & urban watershed flood damages and help prevent loss of life from flood disasters. This platform was also developed for use anywhere else in the world. It includes an early warning flood forecasting system that requires powerful visualization connected to the latest (public domain) versions of HEC-HMS and HEC-RAS that are developed /maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


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Development of the ISWMS™ Platform relied on other proprietary GREENLAND® hydrology and stormwater management modelling tools. The GREENLAND® (Canada-Europe) team consulted also with property-casualty insurers in order to develop an open/transparent system framework that could also address climate impact concerns. Other Canada-based partners included the County of Simcoe (Ontario); University of Guelph; Communitech Corporation; First Nations; and, University of Waterloo Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) and Partners for Action (P4A) network. Finally, the U.S. software engineering firm ‘Civil-GEO’ was consulted on the project too. In late 2019, the GREENLAND® team (and also with the University of Guelph) secured new leverage funding to continue the ISWMS™ IoT Platform development program. In the meantime, GREENLAND® continues to use ISWMS™ (v.2) as a free licensed asset for its consulting client contracts (private and public sectors), and for new collaborations supported by Canada’s National Flood Damage Reduction Program, as well as future Smart Cities & Climate Change Adaptation - Protection Programs.
 


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Client Testimonials

Six Nations Council

On behalf of the Environment Office of the Six Nations of the Grand River, we would like to thank Greenland International Consulting Limited for the work completed to prepare the Master Drainage and Flood Remediation Plan (MDFRP) for the McKenzie Creek watershed. This plan has now enabled our office to identify the flood prone residences throughout the watershed with the flood plain mapping that has been prepared as part of this assignement. We appreciate the role that Greenland has played in assisting our office in directing Public Works with prioritizing the remedial projects to be completed in the flood prone areas. 

We also appreciate Greenland's effort in assisting the Six Nations of the Grand River with the preparation of funding applications to secure the resources to complete these remedial works. We are convinced that this MDFRP can be used as a template for completing similar drainage and flood remediation works both locally and in other First Nations lands. 

We look forward to working with your company again in the near future on the remaining watersheds that need this important work done. 

Thank you for your ongoing assistance. 

Clynt King 
Environmental Technician 
Six Nations Council Environment Office 

July 25, 2016
 

City of Ottawa

On behalf of the City of Ottawa, we would like to thank Greenland International Consulting Limited, and in particular, Don Moss for his exemplary efforts in his role as Model Keeper for the City of Ottawa… Greenland has achieved a high level of confidence with Senior Staff and City Council as well Conservation authority and the Ontario Ministry of Environment… The City is appreciative of the new Modelling Tool developed by Greenland which will assist the City in conducting timely and efficient development reviews. The City will now be able to test proposed infrastructure with the overall development, determine changing impacts to existing infrastructure as ponds, as well as any changes to the receiving watercourses.

Don’s knowledge, dedication and professional approach over the past five years has been a crucial factor in the success of the project under very challenging circumstances.

Don Herweyer, MCIP, RPP
Program Manager
City of Ottawa

February 11, 2014
 

Sustainable Buildings Canada

Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC) has worked closely with Greenland Consulting Engineers (Greenland) as part of the Savings By Design program offered by Enbridge Gas Distribution. The program features an integrated design workshop that exposes builders and developers to the potential environmental and energy performance benefits that can be achieved through a holistic planning process. This includes identifying alternative approaches to site sustainability including low impact development and storm water management.

Inherent in the integrated design process is the need to access experienced and highly qualified individuals and organizations that can identify potential alternative solutions. SBC has a very capable roster of consultants that represent the core expertise required for this kind of expertise. Greenland is one of those organizations, providing critical input related to storm water management, low impact development and site sustainability.

Greenland consulting staff are all extremely knowledgeable and up to date on the various issues related to storm water management and low impact development and have always provided that expertise in a professional manner, recognizing the need to be sensitive to both the needs of the developers and the desire to improve environmental performance. It has been a great pleasure to work with Greenland and we look forward to doing so in the future.

Michael Singleton
Executive Director
Sustainable Buildings Canada

November 1, 2013
 

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