Updated, Validated British Columbia North East Water Tool (NEWT)

ne-bc-waterVictoria, BC – November 1, 2016 – A new version of the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission’s North East Water Tool (NEWT) has been released. The functionally-improved tool presents the scientifically validated hydrology modelling, to address questions about the reliability, accuracy and usefulness of the free online application, which was designed to provide information on water supply and demand in the rivers and lakes of northeast BC.

“Improving and validating NEWT is an important step in the increasingly sophisticated way in which we sustainably manage British Columbia’s water resources,” says Ben Kerr, CEO and Senior Water Scientist at Victoria-based Foundry Spatial, the company which built the new version of the water tool for the BC Oil and Gas Commission. “In addition to validating the hydrology models used by NEWT, we also expanded the application in accordance with changes to British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act,” says Kerr.

In March the Province of British Columbia replaced the Water Act with the Water Sustainability Act, a large framework of policies and regulations aimed at caring for BC water resources. Under the new Act, a significant amount of location-specific water information is required when applying for a water use licence. NEWT and other, free, online tools were developed to collect, aggregate, and turn complicated water resource data into meaningful information to support water resource decision-making.

In parallel with the scientific validation process, improvements were made to both NEWT’s web interface, and the content included in reports generated by the tool, including enhanced environmental flow needs information, and downstream rights interests. The application interface updates allow for searching by waterbody, place name, or water allocation reference, tablet compatibility, and greatly improve ease of use of the application. The reports provide more detailed hydrologic information, and watershed characteristics such as vegetation, topography and climate.

The impetus for presenting publicly the validation of NEWT came from an Environmental Appeal Board review two years ago, in which Dr. Dan Moore, UBC Professor of Geography and Forest Resources Management, commented that the accuracy and reliability of NEWT couldn’t be determined. Foundry Spatial used validation code developed by Dr. Moore to complete a validation of NEWT, part of a suite of GIS-based hydrology decision-support tools developed by Foundry Spatial in partnership with the BC Oil and Gas Commission and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

“Our thanks to Dan for the code which put to rest any concerns about NEWT’s scientific accuracy and validity for supporting natural resource decision-making in the province,” says Ben Kerr, CEO and Senior Water Scientist at Victoria-based Foundry Spatial. The scientifically-robust NEWT and its sister tools provide guidance on water availability across northern BC, and support the decision-making process for water use approvals and licences.

Visit the free, online NEWT: http://water.bcogc.ca/newt

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Media contact

David Sovka

250-580-8478

david@foundryspatial.com

About Foundry Spatial

Based in Victoria, BC, Foundry Spatial is an environmental science and consulting firm. Our expert team of scientists and programmers builds helpful tools that turn raw data into meaningful information for smart, sustainable, resource management decision-making. We have a proven track record, having delivered hydrology modeling and decision support tools for more than one million km2 of Western Canada. For more information, visit www.foundryspatial.com