Understanding precipitation patterns and local streamflow
In 2015, the Regional Climate and Hydrometric Monitoring Network Scoping Study was completed to move forward with recommendations to identify and prioritize locations and potential partnerships to support additional climate and hydrometric (streamflow) stations within the region to improve the existing climate and hydrometric monitoring networks.
Key purposes for collection of local climate and hydrometric data include:
To assess available water supplies for community planning; quantify surface water (flow & level) and ground water (recharge to ground).
To aid with operational hydrology calculations for seasonal water supply forecasting;
To supplement water quality data to provide estimates of total loading rather than only concentrations of pollutants;
To better calculate design flood estimates and rainfall intensities for drainage, stream crossings or flood protection design;
To provide timely data for local flood forecasting and warning,
To improve fire weather monitoring (for forestry operations and forest fire safety),
Baseline monitoring for climate change impact assessment; and
Other currently unknown future uses.
These are purposes that serve the RDN directly but also purposes beyond the RDN jurisdiction that serve partners in the region, illustrating why collaboration makes sense.
The list of priority data gaps (sites that need monitoring) that were identified in the 2015 report can be found here .
Priority Monitoring Sites:
Mt Arrowsmith Snowpillow and Weather Station
The first priority to be addressed from the report is the climate station on Mt. Arrowsmith, to monitor for snowpack. Upper elevation weather information from Mt. Arrowsmith is important for the Englishman River, French Creek and Little Qualicum River watersheds. Several partners have worked together to implement a new Automated Snow Pillow / Weather Station at 1300m elevation on Mt. Arrowsmith within the Arrowsmith Massif Regional Park:
Vancouver Island University - Mt. Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute
BC Ministry of Environment - Snow Survey Program
BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations - Research Hydrology
Island Timberlands LP and TimberWest
Arrowsmith Water Service - City of Parksville, Regional District of Nanaimo & Town of Qualicum Beach
RDN Parks & RDN Drinking Water and Watershed Protection
Installation of the Arrowsmith station was completed in early November 2015, and final instrumentation of the station should be complete in Spring 2016, with the first winter of operation (2016-2017) being primarily for calibration.This is intended to be a long-term station to build the local dataset, and will be incorporated into the provincial network of snow survey stations which can be found via the Provincial website here .
Another priority site for monitoring is Haslam Creek, in Area A, for streamflow and level. This will serve as a baseline station for southern RDN watersheds and will be coupled with local precipitation data from Nanaimo Airport and groundwater level data from Provincial Observation wells in that area. This priority data gap has been addressed through partnership with DFO, Ministry of Forests Lands Natural Resource Operations and the RDN DWWP program.
Real-time data from the station can be found by clicking here.