Municipal Affairs and Environment

Hydrologic Modelling

Hydrology is the applied science concerned with the occurrence, distribution, and circulation of the waters of the earth.

Less than three percent of the earth's water resources is fresh and little more than one-hundredth of one percent of the earth's water is in lakes, rivers, the soil and the atmosphere.

Water evaporates from the earth's surface and is transpired from plants, it falls as rain or snow, it percolates into the ground, it travels through rivers and lakes and eventually returns to the ocean.

This continuous recycling process, which is so vital to life on earth, is called the hydrological cycle and is illustrated in the above figure.

The Hydrologic Modelling Section has a number of products available via the web or in print:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador Water Resources Portal
  • Real Time Streamflow and Climate Information
  • Flood Information
  • Badger Water Level Information
  • Humber River Water Level Information
  • Hurricane Season Flood Alerts
  • Monitoring Snow Extent and Snow Water Equivalent on the Island of Newfoundland
  • Hydrology and Climate of Newfoundland
  • Reports
    • Regional Water Resources Studies
      Regional water resources studies have been completed for portions of the province during two time periods. In 1968 a study was completed for selected regions on the Island and Labrador. From 1987 to 1993 studies were completed for all of the Island. These studies provide background information to assist in water planning and management activities.
    • The Hydrology of Labrador
      This package consists of a 106 page report and 400+ pages of appendices. The objectives of this study were to characterize the hydrology of Labrador and to develop procedures for transferring hydrological information from large gauged watersheds to small ungauged watersheds. The hydrological characteristics of large gauged watersheds in Labrador were obtained by analysing the available physiographic, climatic and streamflow data. Flood characteristics were transferred to smaller watersheds by integrating into the analysis, flood data from hydrologically similar watersheds in Quebec and Central Newfoundland. The appendices consist of all of the annual hydrographs of daily streamflow in Labrador and other plots of hydrological and climatic variables. The calculation of flood flows were automated in a spreadsheet.
    • Hydrology of the Transboundary Rivers of Southern Labrador
      Newfoundland and Labrador operates a hydrometric network that measures streamflow at selected stations on an hourly basis. 14 stations are located in watersheds that are shared with the province of Quebec. The report provides an overview of available hydrotechnical data in this region of the province.
    • Regional Flood Frequency Analysis for Newfoundland and Labrador (2014)
      The annual cost of flooding to public property in Newfoundland is estimated to be in the millions of dollars range. Accurate flood flow estimates are needed for the efficient design of instream structures (culverts, bridges, spillways, etc.) and for floodplain management. The locations for which flood flow estimates are required usually do not have streamflow data which could be used to directly estimate the flood flows. This study, like four previous studies (1971, 1984, 1990, 1999), derives a set of equations for estimating return period flood flows in ungauged watersheds. The 2014 study is the first to provide equations for Labrador.
      • Regional Flood Frequency Analysis for Newfoundland and Labrador - Users’ Guide and Electronic Spreadsheet
        This Users’ Guide and Electronic Spreadsheet is a companion report to the Regional Flood Frequency Analysis for Newfoundland and Labrador - Main Report. The objective of the study was to develop a set of equations to estimate return period flood flows on ungauged watersheds. Flood flow estimates are required for the hydraulic design of instream structures and for floodplain management. This users’ guide was designed to assist engineers in the application of these equations. The electronic spreadsheet automates the calculations.
    • Characteristics and Estimation of Minimum Streamflows for the Island of Newfoundland
      This report describes the characteristics of low streamflows for the Island of Newfoundland. Equations which may be used to predict the expected low flow of given duration and return period on ungauged streams are then presented. The characteristics and estimation of low flows are important for water resources engineering and management applications such as estimating available water supply for municipal and industrial uses, determining the waste-water effluent dilution period of a receiving stream and generally for environmental impact studies.
    • A Guide to Storage Yield Analysis at Unguaged River Sites
      The effect of man-made instream storage on the naturally variable rate of streamflow must be considered in the assessment of surface water availability for any major use such as municipal water supply and hydro power generation.When site specific streamflow data are not available, storage-yield curves determined at one or more nearby gauging stations may have to be used.This guide presents the updated non-dimensional storage-yield curves for 66 gauged watersheds.
    • The Application of Earth Observation Technology to Improve Water Resource Management in Newfoundland and Labrador
      Water resource issues are often very complex and frequently require large amounts of diverse data. Effective management of water resources can be greatly aided by methods which allow for timely and accurate data collection. The use of Earth Observation (EO) technologies such as satellite based monitoring can be very useful as it can provide a cost-effective means of replacing or complimenting field data collection. This report outlines current and future uses of EO technologies in the Water Resources Management Division.
    • Water Resources Atlas Of Newfoundland
      The Water Resources Atlas of Newfoundland is a source of general information on water resources in the province as well as a reference in the preliminary planning and design stages of water resource projects. The Atlas describes the physiography, geology, climatology, hydrology, water quality, groundwater and water uses of the province. The hydrology section gives information on: drainage basins, river gauges, major lakes, reservoirs, river ice, flood zones, as well as maximum, minimum, mean, monthly and annual streamflows. The Atlas also includes 32 summary maps accompanied by supporting text, illustrations and photographs.
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