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Thursday, Dec 14, 2017

Updating hydrometric data collection standards for British Columbia to be compliant with today’s needs


Canadian hydrometric data published by the Water Survey of Canada are collected using nationally-accepted equipment and methods, and undergo a rigorous computational, correction, and review process before being made available to the public.  

In BC, hydrometric data collected by other parties are expected to conform with the 2009 Resource Information Standards Committee (RISC) Manual of British Columbia Hydrometric Standards. These standards complement the WSC standards, and allow for data with various levels of rigour and quality.  Data are graded into five categories: Grade A, B, C, E (estimated), and U (unknown). Occasionally, a sixth classification is used – A/RS (for weirs and flumes).

In 2016, the BC Ministry of Environment and other provincial Ministries determined that the 2009 RISC Standards needed updating to account for current industry-accepted equipment and software, to consider some common field conditions missing from the standards, and to modernize the data grading system to incorporate new technologies. 
The BC Ministry of Environment retained a team led by Associated Environmental to evaluate and recommend updates to the 2009 RISC Standards.  

The team included:

  • Project Manager and Technical Lead – Drew Lejbak (Associated Environmental)
  • Project Advisor – Brian Guy (Associated Environmental)
  • Instrumentation Specialist – Frank van der Have (Hoskin Scientific)
  • Salt Dilution Gauging Specialist – Dan Moore (University of British Columbia)
  • Rated Structure Specialist – Glenn Cumyn (SFE Global Ltd.)

The work was completed in May 2017, and is currently being used to guide the development of a new hydrometric standards document for BC. Lastly, although the evaluation was completed for BC, the work is applicable to the entire country.