Ontario Water News

Showcasing Water Innovation – Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches Initiative

A comprehensive computer model designed specifically for rural stormwater management does not currently exist, but not for long – thanks to funding from the Government of Ontario’s Showcasing Water Innovation program.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), on behalf of the Healthy Lake Huron initiative, has partnered with Emmons & Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR) and Computational Hydraulics International (CHI) to lead a 2012-2014 project on modelling rural stormwater hydrology, hydraulics and water quality within five priority watersheds along the Southeast Shores of Lake Huron. This work has been launched by the Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches initiative, a partnership of all levels of government, health and environment agencies, and landowners and community groups, in a largely rural area along Lake Huron, stretching from Sarnia to Tobermory (www.healthylakehuron.ca).

Since a rural stormwater model is not currently available with the detail required for this application, EOR and CHI are using their complementary expertise to integrate rural stormwater elements into the PCSWMM software. Some of those elements include: tile drainage, agricultural best management practices and soil erosion. Also of importance is the modelling of snowmelt and stream processes, as well as the ability to account for the seasonal variation of parameters such as soil infiltration and sediment and nutrient loading.

Key accomplishments from this software/model, to be ready in 2014, will include:

  • A more systematic understanding of the impact of agricultural best management practices and changes in land use in reducing pollutant loadings into water bodies;
  • Development of a hydrologic/hydraulic model for each priority watershed, that can also generate pollutographs for sediments, phosphorus and nitrogen; and
  • Ability to evaluate the cost-effectiveness for the type, location and size of potential best management practices.

Overall, development of this software will allow for strategic implementation of actions that will protect and enhance the water quality of Lake Huron. Also, adding new functionality to PCSWMM will make it even a more powerful tool for stormwater practitioners.

For more information visit www.ruralstormwater.com, www.chiwater.com, www.eorinc.com and www.ontario.cawaterinnovation.