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Water Quality Information Management and Modelling

Integrated modelling framework example (Lake Ontario and the Duffins Watershed near Toronto) | Photo: Leon et al., 2009 Aquatic ecosystems are often exposed to more than one environmental stress at a time. In order to enhance understanding of these complex ecosystems, there is a need to develop the scientific knowledge, tools and models that aid in better integration of water quality information.

Environmental decision support systems (EDSS) are computer-based, interactive human-computer tools that assist policy makers and stakeholders in decision making processes. EDSSs make use of water quality information management and tools such as chemical loading estimates, statistical analysis, data mining, mapping visualization and artificial intelligence techniques. These systems can also address the issues of linking multimedia models at different geospatial scales, and to provide interfaces that can accept, select, link and recalibrate discipline-specific component models, and to provide optimal solutions for a given domain problem. Modelling presents a cost-effective approach to assess the impact on the environment.

Water S&T Research

Environment Canada is working with both internal and external stakeholders on the continued development of integrated water tools and web-based water domain information systems to share data, information and knowledge, and to conduct model exchange, for many national and international programs. 

Research is being carried out to provide an integrated modelling solution such as nested modelling, uncertainty propagation and auto-calibration to eutrophication problems in the context of developing decision support capability within Lake Winnipeg and its basin.

To aid in identifying remedial actions, along with science, research, and monitoring needs, and to address particular watershed issues, scientists are carrying out statistical analysis, integrated watershed-stream-lake modelling, and loading estimates in many areas including Lake Winnipeg and the Great Lakes.

In order to assess the interaction between watershed activities and water quality, work is continuing on the integration of remote sensing imagery of aquatic colour, ground-based water quality monitoring networks and data sets of terrestrial land use.

Environment Canada scientists are also developing and applying artificial intelligence techniques, expert systems and decision support systems for environmental issues including climate change, watershed acidification, lake eutrophication, and contaminant transport.

Experts:

  • William Booty (contaminant fate and transport, watershed models)
  • Abdel El-Shaarawi (statistical models for water quality)
  • Luis Leon (non-point source pollution and in-lake water quality modelling)
  • Isaac Wong (web-based tools, expert systems and integrated assessment modelling)

To learn more, visit these websites: