Canada Water Act annual report for 2020 to 2021: chapter 2
In 2020-2021, there was a suspension of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) in-person research and monitoring field and lab operations activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuity in monitoring was facilitated, in part, through partnerships with provinces and territories.
The uploading process of hydrometric data was automated to retrieve approved daily data from the data production system and upload them into the National Archive database. This new process enabled the data uploading on a daily basis and greatly improved the efficiency of data publishing.
Hydrometric Needs Index (HNI) maps were developed as a graphical representation of monitoring needs for the hydrometric network. The index is based on user requirements and partner mandates, and is generated by processing open source geospatial data.
Thirty-five new hydrometric test stations across 7 provinces were established in 2020-2021. These new stations will be used to test a variety of new sensors and monitoring techniques to assess their performance and ability to improve the accuracy, reliability and timeliness of the hydrometric data.
In 2020-2021, snowpack in the western portion of the Northwest Territories and the southern portion of the Yukon were well above normal (188% in southern Yukon). Water levels on Great Slave Lake were the highest on record, which created elevated flows on the Mackenzie River during the winter of 2020-2021. These conditions contributed to flooding during the 2021 breakup period, which resulted in the evacuation of several communities.
Ice jams and overland flooding impacted the Prairie region from April through to late July in 2020. The city of Fort McMurray declared a state of emergency resulting in evacuation orders issued in low-lying areas of the city. ECCC’s Water Survey of Canada recorded some of the highest water levels on record.
As an example of support for open information sharing, ECCC worked closely with British Columbia on the development of a website for the water quality agreement to bring together water quality and biomonitoring information, data, status, and trend results through a single ArcGISFootnote 1 online tool.