Hydrometric data and information service standards: chapter 3

3.0 Hydrometric data and information service standards

These service standards were developed to supplement performance reporting mechanisms that currently exist at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), including the departmental plan and the departmental results report, the Management Accountability Framework and the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System. They have been developed in consultation with key partners and clients, and are intended to clearly state what normal level of service our partners and clients can expect from the Meteorological Service of Canada’s (MSC) hydrometric data and information service.

These service standards have been categorized under the three different types as defined by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: accessibility, timeliness and accuracy.

3.1 Accessibility standards

The MSC recognizes that a standard of accessibility for both the organization and its products is key to client service. Clients have several means of access to both the MSC and its products.

3.1.1 Accessibility of the Meteorological Service of Canada

The MSC is committed to being accessible to users of its services and products. This commitment is demonstrated by the numerous ways in which clients may contact the MSC directly to ask questions, make suggestions or submit comments, receive one-on-one weather consultation, or file a complaint.

Users of hydrological data and information products may access the MSC via the National Inquiry Response Team (NIRT), whose main function is to receive and respond to client inquiries directed to the MSC. NIRT may be contacted either by postage mail, telephone, facsimile, or teletypewriter at the following:

Mailing address:
National Inquiry Response Team
Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St-Joseph Blvd , Room 7034
Gatineau, Québec
K1A 0H3

Telephone: 877-789-7733
Fax: 819-938-4449
TTY: 819-994-0736

Additionally, NIRT may also be contacted by completing the "Contact Us" form on ECCC’s Wateroffice website.

NIRT has established the following performance targets to ensure client feedback is addressed in a timely manner:

3.1.2 Accessibility of hydrometric data and information products

Hydrometric data and information are collected and disseminated according to schedules laid out in bilateral partnership agreements among the federal, provincial and territorial members of the National Hydrometric Program (NHP). The MSC strives to make all of its hydrometric data and information available to its clients and to its NHP partners. In normal operations, data and information should be available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

The MSC disseminates NHP hydrometric data and information through:

Hydrometric data can also be accessed via interoperable web services and application programming interfaces (API) through:

MSC GeoMet

NHP hydrometric data can be explored offline through the following applications:
Environment Canada Data Explorer (MSC supported)
Green KenueTM (National Research Council supported)

ECCC also publishes NHP hydrometric data and information online through:
Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators - Water Indicators

The Government of Canada provides access to NHP hydrometric data online through Open Government.

NHP hydrometric data and information can be accessed online through applications supported by organizations external to ECCC.

NHP provincial and territorial partner websites provide access to NHP hydrometric data and information:

Alberta - Environmental Monitoring
British Columbia - Ministry of Environment
Manitoba - Environment, Climate and Parks
New Brunswick - Department of Environment and Local Government
Newfoundland and Labrador - Environment and Wildlife
Northwest Territories - Environment and Natural Resources
Nova Scotia - Department of Environment and Climate Change
Nunavut - Department of Environment
Ontario - Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Prince Edward Island - Environment, Labour and Justice
Quebec - Ministry of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change
Saskatchewan - Water Security Agency
Yukon - Department of Environment

3.1.3 Service limitations

Hydrometric data and information is available only for locations where monitoring stations are currently or have been established.

In normal operations, data and information should be available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sometimes data and information accessibility might be interrupted for reasons outside of ECCC’s control. For example, extreme weather conditions may adversely impact the functioning of hydrometric monitoring equipment or data transmission infrastructure.

Hydrometric data and information generated by the NHS is first posted to the website. Other sources outlined in section 3.1.2 will be updated according to their own update schedule. Although all sources might not be updated synchronously, users can always refer to the website for the most up-to-date data and information.

Users should also note that NHP hydrometric data and information dissemination mechanisms beyond the control of the MSC are subject to the service limitations of their supporting organizations.

For additional information regarding service limitations, either internal or external to the MSC, please contact the MSC directly.

3.2 Timeliness

The MSC recognizes that it is of vital importance to users that the most up-to-date hydrometric data and information be made available in a timely manner. The MSC also recognizes that its NHP partners expect to receive hydrometric data and information on a reliable schedule. As such, near real-time hydrometric data is posted online within 6 hours of occurrence.

3.3 Accuracy

The MSC endeavours to deliver accurate hydrometric data and information at all times and actively seeks and tests technologies and methods to improve accuracy.

The NHS delivers data of consistent quality by striving to generate 100% of its hydrometric data and information products according to Standard Operating Procedures. Results from regular audits of office and field activities provide evidence that Standard Operating Procedures have been followed.

It can be difficult to quantify the accuracy of hydrometric data and information, as accuracy depends upon many factors, including:

  1. Choice of measurement techniques
  2. Physical conditions at the monitoring site
  3. Frequency of measurements; and
  4. Choice and applicability of computation and interpretation methods.

The following caveats assist users in understanding the accuracy, and thus reliability, of hydrometric data:

  1. Data identified as “provisional” is subject to change and improvement, and therefore is possibly less accurate than data published as “approved.”
  2. Data identified as “estimated” is of unknown accuracy relative to measured data but may provide a more accurate representation under certain conditions.
  3. Measured data identified as affected by ice or other influences that limit the applicability of models is less accurate than measured data unaffected by those influences.
  4. A daily mean value based on an incomplete dataset is of lower accuracy than other daily values.

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