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Environment and Conservation
December 30, 2009

Province Boasts Innovative Technologies in Water Resources Management

Newfoundland and Labrador’s large geographical area and a low population density make water resources management a challenge, particularly flood forecasting. Through the adaptation and addition of innovative technologies, this challenge presents an opportunity for the Provincial Government to utilize innovative technologies to enhance flood forecasting services and overall water resources management.

"We have a level of expertise in water resources management that is second to none," said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation. "Through leading-edge technologies and capabilities, we are providing a valuable service to the people of the province and, at the same time, attracting international attention and showcasing our expertise to the world."

In 2009, a Russian delegation visited Newfoundland and Labrador to learn more about the province’s water resources management expertise, in particular the Earth Observation Satellites (EOS) Badger River Ice Service. This service was created in 2003 in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and a local company, C-CORE. It represents a major improvement in the flood forecasting capability for the residents of Badger, as the satellite imagery improves prediction of the timing of any impending floods. This service has drawn international attention and is now used in several countries, including Russia where it is used on the Siberian Rivers – the Lena and the Yenissei.

With a vision to further improve the Badger River Ice Service, web cameras using new and innovative satellite and cellular communication technologies were installed along the Exploits River to provide real-time visual confirmation of ice conditions and verification of satellite imagery. In 2008, a web camera was installed at Badger overlooking the river and, in 2009, a second camera was placed at Badger Steps, a critical and remote section of the Exploits River. Through interaction between the department and Egyptian officials, the technology is now used on Lake Manzala in Egypt.

The department is one of several Canadian agencies to use web cameras for flood forecasting services and water resources management and is considered on the leading edge regarding the remote real-time application of these web cameras. The work undertaken in Badger has lead to the placement of the Badger website on the web camera manufacturer’s product webpage. It can be viewed at www.campbellsci.ca/Catalogue/CC640.html

To improve flood warning for the Humber River Valley communities of Deer Lake and Steady Brook, a web camera has also been installed overlooking the Humber River.

Another example of the use of innovative technologies to address the needs of the people of this province is the EOS snow monitoring service that has been developed to provide flood warning to the Humber River Valley communities of Deer Lake and Steady Brook. Using satellites, snow coverage is monitored for the entire Humber Valley in order to alert residents of possible flooding due to snow melt in the higher elevations of the Humber Valley.

The Humber snow monitoring service was developed through technology that was adapted from an ESA project in Egypt in which the department participated. In 2009, the department was invited to participate in a three-year international snow monitoring technology development and testing project named GlobSnow. The GlobSnow project will produce products which will have important applications for flood forecasting, climate change, hydropower generation and wildlife studies in the province.

For more information on any of these technologies, including the web cameras, flood-risk data and real-time water monitoring data, please visit www.env.gov.nl.ca/env/Env/water_resources.asp

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Media contact:

Melony O’Neill
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 689-0928
moneill@gov.nl.ca

2009 12 30                                                    11:50 a.m.
 


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