Alberta Water Tool

  • Manuel Garcia-Melgares posted an article
    Scientifically defensible watershed reports for over 230,000 km2 of Alberta see more

    The Alberta Water Tool provides accurate, scientifically defensible watershed reports for over 230,000 km2 of Alberta


    Victoria, February 4th, 2019 Foundry Spatial is pleased to announce that it has completed and released a major expansion to the Alberta Water Tool, which now covers the entire Athabasca River Basin in Alberta.


    First launched in 2016 to provide water management planning capabilities to industry and government stakeholders, the Alberta Water Tool provides a platform for industry, government, and the public to easily access water information in support of environmentally sustainable water management.


    The Alberta Water Tool is a web-based decision support tool, providing accurate, scientifically defensible watershed reports at any location across more than 230,000 km2 of Alberta. These reports combine information on water supply generated from hydrology models, with information regarding existing water allocations and environmental flow needs for any region of interest. In a matter of seconds, users have actionable information which would otherwise take five to 10 days of effort for a professional to produce.


    Over the course of 2018, the Alberta Water Tool produced 1,447 watershed reports. This represents an opportunity value of more than $7 million, which has benefitted water users, government regulators, and the environment.


    Expansion of the Alberta Water tool was supported by the Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund administered by Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) and the Sustainable Water Management in the Athabasca River Basin Initiative – a project delivered by WaterSMART Solutions with funding from Alberta Innovates, Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Environment and Parks, ATCO, Repsol Oil and Gas, Suncor Energy, and Westmoreland Coal Company.


    Fast facts:

    • The Alberta Water Tool is available across more than 230,000 km2 of Alberta, including parts of the Peace, Athabasca, North Saskatchewan, and Red Deer River watershed.
    • Reports can be produced for 240,000 unique watersheds.
    • The Athabasca expansion includes the lower portion of the Athabasca River, and also provides current and future hydrologic variability information for the Athabasca watershed, from the Athabasca River Basin Initiative.
    • More than 11,000 water licenses are represented in the Alberta Water Tool.


    For more information on the Alberta Water Tool, please visit:


    Media contacts:


    Foundry Spatial

    Ben Kerr



    WaterSMART Solutions

    Mike Nemeth



    Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada

    Lauren Gilmore, Communications Manager


  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The Alberta Water Tool provides real-time information on the quantity of water available... see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    A small Victoria firm is intent on making a big splash in the Alberta oil and gas market with a new online tool that puts the power of water into the hands of exploration companies.

    Foundry Spatial, a six-year-old environmental consulting firm, has just launched the Alberta Water Tool, which provides real-time information on the quantity of water available in any location where exploration may take place.

    Founder and chief executive Ben Kerr said the tool draws water information from 30,600 surface and groundwater allocation points and 185 hydrometric stations for 181,000 unique watersheds in Alberta. He said that means companies will be able to make better exploration decisions and in a more timely manner.

    Kerr, who started the company after working as a computer mapping specialist for the provincial government for eight years, said water has become a huge issue for the oil and gas industry, where hydraulic fracturing and shale gas are key players.

    “It’s changed the whole industry. They need water to produce petroleum,” he said.

    Kerr said the data they mine is readily available, but it can take days or weeks for consultants to pull it together in what is often a very costly report.

    Instead, Foundry Spatial has built technology and a delivery system that allows exploration firms and government ministries to log into the database and produce a customized report on a specific area in real time.

    “We do it at a fraction of the cost,” Kerr said. Foundry Spatial charges by volume. A single report would be $1,000, but a company that needs them often could pay as little as $400 each. “Companies want to do it themselves and do it now,” said Kerr.

    The tool was originally developed by Foundry Spatial for the B.C. government, and the company is paid to maintain its technology and continue to provide the product.

    The first version of the engine was developed in 2012 for the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission and was recognized with a B.C. Premier's Award for Regional Innovation.

    “It helps resource managers in government as well as water users get access to information about how much water there is, what existing demand is for it and what the environment needs all in a matter of seconds,” Kerr said.

    The technology developed by Foundry collects the data, builds a computer model and extrapolates information from that about areas that are unknown.

    “It lets you choose any spot you’re interested in and produce a report describing that exact location,” Kerr said.

    Though it was just launched two weeks ago, Kerr has already secured one Alberta client, with another five expected to sign on in the coming months.

    He said the quiet oil and gas market has helped, rather than hurt. “Our value proposition is efficiency,” he said. “So it’s an ideal time to launch a product in Alberta if a product is about saving people money.”

    While oil and gas is driving the market for the product right now, Kerr said it has applications for mining, agriculture, forestry, First Nations and basically anyone who requires water.

    “This technology [is] of interest to every single industry because every single industry depends on water,” he said.

    The company has also developed tools that help people find and access environmental monitoring information, and is working on a product that will allow people to look at a specific location — such as their homes — and see what effect a massive earthquake would have on it.

    “It will let them see what could potentially happen to their property and offer suggestions on how to mitigate the damage,” he said.

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