MFGA Aquanty Project
Regina, SK (Feb 13, 2018) – The MFGA Aquanty Project, a cutting-edge HydroGeoSphere (HGS) model that examines land use and water movement across the entire Assiniboine River Basin, is right on schedule for spring 2018 completion. Project leaders are pleased with what they are seeing from the model as a land use decision support tool.
“At the end of March 2018, we will have a working model that can be used by numerous user groups, policy makers and land managers as a decision support tool to predict the impact on water movement within the Assiniboine River Basin of certain basic changes to infrastructure as well as the impact of changes in the area dedicated to perennial forages and/or grasslands,” said Darren Chapman, chair of Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association (MFGA), the project’s proponent.
In the first phase of the project, HGS models are being constructed by Aquanty, a software development firm from Waterloo, Ontario for the 155,000 km2 Assiniboine River Basin (ARB); the three major subbasins of the ARB (Assiniboine River Sub-basin, Qu’Appelle River Sub-basin, and the Souris Sub-basin); and the 7000 km2 Birdtail Watershed. Funding for the MFGA’s Aquanty project is chiefly provided by an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) AgriRisk Initiatives (ARI) Program – Research and Development Stream funding commitment of $1,145,800 and Manitoba Agriculture’s commitment of $180,000 to the two-year project. The remainder of the $1,732,300 total project funding will be provided by partners and supporters via a combination of in-kind and cash contributions. ISM (an IBM company) from Regina is handling the public interface components of the model including dashboards and story boards.
“We are very excited that our Analytics team is playing a role in this leading-edge project, which provides land users with this critical ability to predict how different inputs will affect water levels and water flow across the Assiniboine River Basin,” said Mark MacLeod, CEO, ISM Canada.
MFGA and their project partners from the Assiniboine River Basin Initiative (ARBI) are co-hosting a workshop this week in Regina at the ISM Centre of Excellence (2 Research Drive), in advance of ARBI’s annual conference at the Double Tree Hotel and Conference Centre, February 14th and 15th.
Along with urban and rural communities, beef and forage industries in the Assiniboine River Basin have been adversely affected by natural disasters such as flooding, excess moisture conditions and drought. Governments are focusing considerable attention at enhancing resilience across sectors and communities.
“Through our work with the Assiniboine River Basin Initiative, we've travelled extensively around the Assiniboine River Basin this year,” says Dr. Allan Preston, ARBI chair. “Everywhere we go, people are searching for solutions around water and land use. The time for planning our future with the best decision support tools and creating the most effective land-use programs possible is right now.”
As the project proponent, MFGA will own the licence for stakeholders to access this cutting-edge model in the ARB. While exact details of stakeholder access are still being worked out, the potential of the model to be used as a planning tool across the entire Assiniboine River Basin is vast and unlimited.