About a year ago, we launched the Alberta Water Tool (AWT) - a web based decision support tool providing information on water resources, existing water users, and the needs of the environment in an area of West-Central Alberta about 140 000 square kilometres in size.
The AWT, like the other water tools we've developed, is driven by a hydrology model that estimated the average timing and volume of flows across large areas. It combines these model outputs with information on existing water users and puts everything in the context of the natural environmental flow needs of the rivers, lakes and streams. The hydrology modeling in the AWT was produced as part of the Integrated Assessment of Water Resources, West-Central Alberta Project, which ran from 2012-14 and brought together multiple stakeholders to study the water resources of the region.
Unlike in other regions, where we've developed water tools in partnership with government agencies, we moved forward on the development of the AWT as a Foundry Spatial initiative (with the support of the National Research Council - Industrial Research Assistance Program, and Tecterra) and took it directly to the market under a freemium / user-pay model. With a modest marketing budget and limited sales effort, early supporters of the AWT got things to a sustainable point. Something didn't feel quite right though.
One of the biggest advantages of the AWT is that it supports transparency in water resource management - a field that when it comes to public discourse can be substantially impacted by fear - fear that is compounded by challenges finding and understanding data and information about water supply, demand, and the needs of the environment. The user-pay model that we tested provided great benefits to the people that were using the tool, but the cost associated with the reports created a barrier that was limiting how often those reports were produced.
This spring we discussed this dilemma with some colleagues and stakeholders and indicated that we would be interested in exploring arrangements to provide the AWT in an open-access manner. As of Thursday, September 14, 2017, the Alberta Water Tool is now available to the general public at no charge, thanks to the support of the Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF), the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC), and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
If you are interested in learning more about the Alberta Water Tool, join us for a webinar next Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 1pm Pacific / 2pm Mountain time, by signing up here: https://goo.gl/forms/lhvjiiK591lFaMCv1
Or jump right in! Alberta Water Tool
We'd love to hear your thoughts once you've had a chance to check it out - get in touch at [email protected]