BC Hydro Relies on AQUARIUS to Automate Daily Production of Long-Range Water Supply Forecasts

Hydropower companies are deploying AQUARIUS Software to streamline operations, water supply forecasting, and regulatory reporting requirements.

Vancouver, Canada, January 22, 2013Aquatic Informatics Inc., a global leader in providing innovative software solutions for hydrologic data management and analysis, announced today that the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (BC Hydro) has successfully deployed AQUARIUS Software. For the first time, BC Hydro can produce, update, and track its mid-term and long-range statistical water inflow forecasts on a daily basis, improving its ability to manage valuable water resources and real-time operations.

“At BC Hydro, 95 percent of our generation is produced by our hydro facilities, so it is critical we have timely and accurate water supply forecasts,” commented Stephanie Smith, Manager, Hydrology & Technical Services, BC Hydro. “AQUARIUS is a flexible and well supported water accounting solution. We worked with the Aquatic Informatics team to set up our workflows and apply our water supply forecasting models.”

“Our Project Management Team consists of seasoned hydrologists and software experts who are excited to work closely with leading organizations like BC Hydro to solve complex water management challenges,” said Ed Quilty, President and CEO at Aquatic Informatics. “We are currently working on modeling projects around the world, in Canada, Malaysia, and Australia. We are building relationships with organizations who are applying AQUARIUS to perform higher level analysis and to produce timely hydrological information to support better decisions for the optimal use of precious water resources.”

Aquatic Informatics professionals worked with BC Hydro to build the new Statistical Water Inflow Forecasting Tool (SWIFT) in AQUARIUS, automating workflows and replicating existing BC Hydro water supply forecasting models. The Hydrology & Technical Services department has officially retired its custom-built VoDCa spreadsheet suite after successfully running AQUARIUS in parallel for one month. In addition to allowing BC Hydro to produce the same highly accurate forecasts, AQUARIUS is delivering these new benefits:

  1. Daily updating of forecasts with automated workflows,
  2. Increased modeling speed and system performance,
  3. Rigorous auditability with automatic tracking of changes to data and models,
  4. Direct integration with existing enterprise architecture, and
  5. Improved system maintenance and support (with a commercial system).

“The BC Hydro inflow forecasting team had built sophisticated models, proven to be effective at forecasting water supply within the province of British Columbia,” said Alastair Foreman, Product Manager at Aquatic Informatics. “To resolve system performance issues, these models needed to be implemented on a modern and robust hydrological data management platform like AQUARIUS. The result with SWIFT is an efficient system that produces the same accurate forecasts, previously run monthly and manually, now published daily and automatically.”

The type of data used to forecast water supply includes observed precipitation, snowpack levels, temperatures, and reservoir inflows. Changes in water supply forecasts impact real-time BC Hydro operations. When low reservoir inflows are forecasted, BC Hydro minimizes water releases to preserve reservoir levels, optimizing power production potential while protecting environmental flows. When unusually high inflows are forecasted, BC Hydro can safely discharge more water to reduce future threats of floods from heavy precipitation events. With daily forecast updating, BC Hydro is able to make faster and better decisions about the province’s water resources.

AQUARIUS is also used for regulatory compliance: for example, to meet Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulations in the United States. Hydropower companies depend on AQUARIUS software to improve the accuracy, analysis, and timeliness of water data, resulting in better calculations of in-stream flow.

“All of our official water records are managed in AQUARIUS to streamline complex regulatory reporting requirements,” said Randy Bowersox, Manager of Hydroelectric Facilities with the Northern California Power Agency. “Using AQUARIUS as our water accounting solution allows the NCPA to build accurate rating curves as well as manage and compute all of our water data in accordance with US Geological Survey standards – this is critical as a FERC cooperator interfacing with the USGS.”

AQUARIUS Software has been selected by other hydropower companies, utilities, and energy companies, including: Idaho Power, the Salt River Project (Phoenix), Southern Water (Australia), and Sarawak Energy Berhad (Malaysia).

About BC Hydro

BC Hydro’s corporate purpose is to power British Columbia with clean, reliable electricity for generations. BC Hydro is a commercial Crown corporation owned by the Province of British Columbia. BC Hydro is one of North America’s leading providers of clean, renewable energy, and the largest electric utility in British Columbia, serving approximately 95 per cent of the province’s population and approximately 1.9 million customers. It is responsible for reliably generating between 43,000 and 56,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity per year. Learn more at www.bchydro.com.

About Aquatic Informatics Inc.

Aquatic Informatics™ provides software solutions that address critical water data management and analysis challenges for the rapidly growing environmental monitoring industry. Aquatic Informatics is focused on providing solutions to a range of different customer groups including  federal, state/provincial or local government departments, hydropower operators, mining companies, academic groups and consulting organizations, who collect, manage and process large volumes of water quality or quantity data.

For more information about Aquatic Informatics, go to www.aquaticinformatics.com.

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