Water Tool Platform

The first version of the engine powering the Alberta Water Tool was developed in 2012 as the Northeast Water Tool for the BC Oil and Gas Commission. It has been recognized with a BC Premier’s Award for Regional Innovation, an award from Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia, and also won an Environmental Innovation Award at the Global Petroleum Show.

Today the Alberta Water Tool incorporates hydrology modelling science generated from the Integrated Assessment of Water Resources, West Central Alberta (WCAB) project, and the Sustainable Water Management in the Athabasca River Basin Initiative (ARBI). The development of the platform technology was supported by both the National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and Tecterra. The operation of the Alberta Water Tool is supported by Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada’s Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF).

Research Initiatives

The ARB Initiative was enabled through core funding provided by Alberta Innovates and matching funds contributed by the Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Environment and Parks, ATCO, Repsol Oil and Gas, Suncor Energy, and Westmoreland Coal Company.

The WCAB project was a collaborative initiative delivered by Foundry Spatial, Petrel Robertson Consulting, and Strategic West Energy in partnership with Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada’s AUPRF program, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canadian Natural Resources, Cequence Energy, Chevron Canada Resources, ConocoPhillips Canada, EnCana Corporation, Husky Energy, Mosaic Energy, NuVista Energy, Penn West Petroleum, Shell Canada, and Talisman Energy.

Alberta Water Tool Fast Facts

  • 242,003 unique watersheds
  • Transboundary (BC, Alberta & Saskatchewan) information
  • Peace, Athabasca, North Saskatchewan, Red Deer River watersheds
  • 362,000 km² of western Canada (primarily in Alberta)
  • 34,871 surface water allocation points (AB)
  • 7,712 groundwater allocation points (AB)
  • 36 months of technology development

Data sources

WCAB Project (Foundry Spatial)

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada, Water Survey of Canada - streamflow records
  • NASA - shuttle Radar Topography Mission (digital elevation models)
  • University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, Oregon State University (PRISM) - climate models (ClimateWNA, ClimateAB)
  • NASA / NOAA / NSF / EPA / NSERC / CCRS / NRC / CFS / Agriculture Canada / Environment Canada / journal publications - evapotranspiration estimates
  • CGIAR - evapotranspiration estimates
  • Province of Alberta, Province of BC, Province of Saskatchewan - watershed boundaries, hydrographic mapping (streams, lakes, etc), water allocations, surficial geology
  • NALCMS - CEC land cover data from CCRS, NRCan, USGS, INEGI, CONABIO, CONAFOR.

ARBI model (WaterSMART Solutions)

Streamflow Data

Water Survey of Canada. 2016. Historical Hydrometric Data. http://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca.

Climate Data

Daly, C. 2002a. Western Canada Average Monthly or Annual Precipitation, 1961–90, Spatial Climate Analysis Service at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.

Daly, C. 2002b. Western Canada Average Monthly or Annual Mean Temperature, 1961–90, Spatial Climate Analysis Service at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.

Environment Canada. 2016. Historical Climate Data. http://climate.weather.gc.ca/

Wang, T., Hamann, A., Spittlehouse, D. L., & Murdock, T. Q. (2012). ClimateWNA—high-resolution spatial climate data for western North America. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 51(1), 16-29.

Wang, T., A. Hamann, D. Spittlehouse and C. Carroll, 2016. “Locally Downscaled and Spatially Customizable Climate Data for Historical and Future Periods for North America.” PLoS ONE 11(6): e0156720.

Spatial Data

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. (2014). ABMI Wall-to-wall Land Cover Map Version 2.1. Accessed June 1, 2016 from http://www.abmi.ca/home/data-analytics/da-top/da-product-overview/GIS-Land-Surface/Land-Cover.html

Clarke, G. K., Jarosch, A. H., Anslow, F. S., Radić, V., & Menounos, B. (2015). Projected deglaciation of western Canada in the twenty-first century. Nature Geoscience, 8(5), 372-377. Data Accessed May 2016 from http://couplet.unbc.ca/data/RGM_archive/

Natural Resources Canada (2016). Canadian Digital Elevation Model. Edition 1.1. Released 2016-10-21. Available online from https://open.canada.ca/data/dataset/7f245e4d-76c2-4caa-951a45d1d2051333


Craig, J.R., & the Raven Development Team. (2018). Raven user's and developer's manual (Version 2.8), URL: http://www.civil.uwaterloo.ca/jrcraig/Raven/Main.html (Accessed April 27, 2018).

WaterSMART Solutions Ltd. (2018). A Roadmap for Sustainable Water Management in the Athabasca River Basin. Produced by WaterSMART Solutions Ltd. for Alberta Innovates, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 160 pages. Available online at https://watersmartsolutions.ca/


  • BOREAS - Boreal Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study
  • CCRS - Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing
  • CEC - Commission for Environmental Cooperation
  • CFS - Canadian Forest Service
  • CGIAR - Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
  • CONABIO - Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity)
  • CONAFOR - Comisión Nacional Forestal (National Forestry Commission of Mexico)
  • EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
  • INEGI - Insituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (National Institute of Statistics and Geography)
  • NALCMS - North American Land Change Monitoring System
  • NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • NOAA - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
  • NRCan - Natural Resources Canada
  • NSERC - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • NSF - National Science Foundation
  • PRISM - Parameter-elevation Relationships on Independent Slopes Model
  • USGS - United States Geological Survey
  • WSC - Water Survey of Canada


Something has gone wrong. The system just sent us a note about the problem, and we will look into it as soon as possible.