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Comprehensive Streamflow Prediction and Visualization to Support Integrated Water Managment

Advances in cloud computing offer a unique opportunity to facilitate better use of water resource models as decision-making tools. Modeling software can be hosted on a cloud-based server and operated by multiple remote users via a web interface. This eliminates the need for users to procure and maintain high performance hardware required by models, while addressing issues related to software installation, updates and platform incompatibilities. Furthermore, cloud computing alleviates the need for users to maintain local copies of data that can become outdated or inconsistent when manually moved between storage devices and computers.

We will take advantage of recently developed cloud computing cyberinfrastructure to develop streamflow forecasting, flood mapping, and data sharing tools which can be centrally maintained by ICIMOD, integrated with their existing ArcGIS platform, and openly accessed by a wide variety of stakeholders. Advanced modeling, mapping, and visualization will make results intuitive and accessible for decision support. Our project and contribution to the SERVIR Applied Science Team (AST) will consist of the following water resources apps:

1. Himalayan Streamflow Forecaster – A medium-range, 15-day stream flow forecasting and flood awareness web app based on global ECMWF forecasts will cover SERVIR’s entire Himalaya Hub region.

2. Forecast to Flood Map Visualizer – A tool supporting a higher resolution forecast that includes inundation maps derived from the 15-day forecasts. We will collaborate with ICIMOD to determine the watersheds of interest for this tool.

3. Earth Observation Data Explorer – An Earth observation data explorer web app that leverages and is patterned after and could potentially extend the SERVIR ClimateSERV Viewer functionality. This tool will provide NASA GLDAS and similar earth observation products useful with the streamflow forecaster and other water related evaluations made by stakeholders.

4. Water Data Observations Integrator – A customized version of the CUAHSI HydroServer web app that will support managing, hosting, and discovering observational or modeled time series data with accepted WMO and OGC standards. We will establish an initial database from time series data generated by the streamflow forecasting app and other observational data used in its development. Furthermore, this app will add useful capabilities to ICIMOD’s geospatial portal to promote better data sharing and dissemination across many water resources projects in the region, using internationally recognized standards.

These apps will be developed using a combination of ArcGIS and BYU-developed Tethys technologies, and deployed in a Water Resources App Portal (WRAP) that will be closely integrated with the ArcGIS platform already used at ICIMOD. WRAP will facilitate deploying a variety of additional spatially-enabled apps hosted and maintained on ICIMOD servers. The WRAP and associated web apps will improve external access to the streamflow forecasts that are part of this project as well as data from other projects developed by ICIMOD and its stakeholders. Fundamental to this plan is core capacity-building for integration within ICIMOD’s compute environment, and collaborative development of additional apps according to ICIMOD priorities as outlined in their work plan.

Our proposed cloud-based water resources apps portal and specific web apps will empower ICIMOD to better inform decision makers and the public at large to understand and manage streamflow forecasts broadly across the region, be more prepared for impending floods and related disasters, be more resilient after flood events, and better adapt to changing environmental and social challenges. Furthermore, we will team with the other AST members to ensure that the water resources apps and portal developed for ICIMOD are extensible to other SERVIR Regions and interests.