The Thames River Water Management Plan (WMP) is focusing on issues related to water quantity and quality. Funding for several WMP projects was been provided by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s Showcasing Water Innovation (SWI) program, which is the province’s program to demonstrate leading edge, innovative and cost-effective solutions for managing drinking water, stormwater and wastewater systems in Ontario communities. The SWI projects were undertaken through the UTRCA but are relevant to the entire watershed.
SWI Technical Symposium
The TRCWR committee hosted a technical symposium on December 2 & 3, 2014, focusing on technical presentations about these and other projects, as well as future WMP activities. Click on the titles below to view pdf versions of the presentations.
Great Lakes Connections (Chereine Vieira, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of Luca Cargnelli, Environment Canada)
Thames River Clear Water Revival & Showcasing Water Innovation Projects (Tara Tchir, UTRCA)
Water Quality Assessment Project (Karen Maaskant, UTRCA)
The project goal is to better understand nutrient source areas and delivery throughout the Thames River system to help in targeting implementation programs in the watershed and for Lake Erie.
Developing and Demonstrating Innovative BMPs (Brad Glasman & Craig Merkley, UTRCA)
Innovative BMPs are being implemented on watershed farms. These BMPs are being monitored and evaluated to make recommendations regarding future implementation processes. Projects include phosphorus filters, controlled drainage/sub-irrigation, on-farm stormwater management, and wetland restoration.
Introduction to Water Management Issues Related to Flooding and Climate Change (Mark Shifflett, UTRCA)
The UTRCA’s and LTVCA’s comprehensive flood control program for the Thames River watershed includes flood control infrastructure, flood forecasting and warning, and development policies in flood hazard areas. The program is being impacted by ageing infrastructure as well as changing technology, land use, population and policy, not to mention climate change, prompting a need for re-investment. A local context of climate change will be presented.
Water Quantity Data Management – WISKI (Mark Helsten, UTRCA)
The UTRCA requires accurate and reliable time-series data from various sources in the watershed in order to carry out its mandate of flood forecasting and warning. These data include water levels of rivers and reservoirs, hourly precipitation totals, air temperature and other meteorologic data, from various locations throughout the watershed. This presentation gives a brief overview of how time-series data are managed.
Merging Rain Gauge & Weather Radar Data to Estimate Precipitation (Jack McKee, UTRCA)
Hydrologists and engineers rely on accurate, spatially distributed quantitative precipitation estimates – how much precipitation and where is it – for hydrological modeling and flood forecasting. Rain gauges and weather radar are the most widely used instruments for estimating rainfall accumulations, but their accuracy is limited. The project goal is to develop a reliable automated process for obtaining precipitation estimates for the purpose of flood forecasting and warning, using state-of-the-art techniques for estimating spatially distributed rainfall fields.
Upper Thames River Stream Flow Statistics (Mark Helsten, UTRCA)
This study examines the stream flow statistics of the Thames River and its major tributaries. The methodologies and results of the analysis are presented and compared with estimates from previous studies. The effect of dams in reducing flood damage is also considered.
Digital Elevation Mapping (Phil Simm, UTRCA)
This project is using new technology and software to develop a methodology for creating elevation data across the watershed to support updating flooding/hazard mapping. The elevation data will also improve and update mapping of wetlands, watercourses, and waterbodies using three dimensional editing capabilities.
Hydraulic Modeling using GIS, Digital Elevation Mapping and Survey Data (Mahmoud Pejam, UTRCA)
One SWI project goal was to develop, and begin implementation of, an approach to modernize watershed hydrologic and hydraulic models. These models support various critical watershed analysis and planning activities, most notably activities related to flood risk management. Updated hydrologic and hydraulic models are also important tools moving forward to allow evaluation of the effects of future climate change scenarios on watershed processes.
RELATED PROJECTS & NEXT STEPS
Rural Landowner Behaviours and Attitudes in the Upper Thames River and Grand River Watersheds (Jeff Brick, UTRCA)
This study of rural landowners in the Upper Thames and Grand River watersheds provides insight into the conservation behaviour and attitudes of the 3,200 plus survey respondents, with specific emphasis on a subset of more than 600 respondents that are considered to be farmers. The information can help guide the design of stewardship and education programs.
Low Impact Development (Teresa Hollingsworth & Imtiaz Shah, UTRCA)
Low Impact Development (LID) is an innovative approach to managing urban stormwater that reduces the rate and amount of water running off of a property. Less water goes into watercourses from storm sewers, helping to minimize flooding and stream bank erosion, and reducing the impact on water quality. LID activities include a symposium and pilot projects.
Thames River Water Management Plan Development (Tara Tchir, UTRCA)
A Work Plan is being developed that will lead to a Water Management Plan (WMP) in the next two years. The WMP will include recommendations from the SWI projects as well as information from our partners, and will direct our collective efforts for the next 10 to 20 years. The WMP is one component of the overall Thames River Clear Water Revival watershed strategy.
Water Quality Data Management Software (Tara Tchir, UTRCA)
Understanding nutrient enrichment in the Thames River watershed relies on accurately modelling critical relationships, which in turn is dependent upon the quality and completeness of water quality and quantity data records. To establish baseline conditions, describe trends and identify information gaps, the data set needs to be compiled in a standardized and comprehensive manner; assembled and maintained in a reliable, secure and flexible web-based database; and managed through greater coordination and sharing between all water-based agencies and groups in the Thames River watershed.