HydroGeoSphere Modelling Platform Development for the Assiniboine River Basin (The MFGA Aquanty Project)


MFGA Aquanty Project Overview/Need

Recent flood events in the Assiniboine River Basin have resulted in significant crop losses, property and infrastructure damage, leading to unprecedented Agri-Recovery claims above and beyond crop insurance. This project seeks to develop new risk management tools to reduce the impact of extreme flood or drought events for the agricultural industry within the Basin by identifying preventative measures, implementing risk prevention and mitigation activities, all with the intention of lessening the need for government disaster programming in response to such events.

This project will construct a hydrology (hydrogeosphere: HGS) model of the Assiniboine River Basin to model the effects of flood and drought on soils and topography as well as simulating various mitigation measures to lessen flood/drought event impacts on agricultural lands. The model will encompass the Assiniboine, Qu’Appelle and Souris sub-basins, as well as a more detailed drill down on the Birdtail watershed located in the upper reaches of the Assiniboine sub-basin.

About the Model

  • The model will be multi-faceted, in that it will have the utility for assessing: flood, drought, and excess moisture risks to agricultural producers; flood risks to urban centers; as well as both flood and drought risk mitigation strategies within the ARB.
  • The model will also serve as a tool to test the hydrologic sensitivity of the ARB to projected future climate conditions and different synthetic flood inducing snow melt and precipitation scenarios.

Audiences and Possible Stakeholders

HGS Users

  • It is anticipated that the model could become a standardized platform for a number of different stakeholders, including multiple levels of government, research institutes, and NGOs who want to perform targeted hydrologic analyses and research across a wide range of temporal and spatial scales within the ARB.
  • Individuals such as primary agricultural producers and/or the business sector such as the oil and gas sector, may utilize the model on a much smaller scale, right down to individual fields or properties.

MFGA Aquanty Model Objectives

The project has three key objectives:

(1)  Develop an integrated hydrologic modelling (HydroGeoSphere) platform for the 155,000 square km Assiniboine River Basin and its three sub-basins (Souris, Qu’Appelle, and Assiniboine sub-basins) to simulate groundwater and surface water flow systems.

(2)  Develop a web-based tool for stakeholders to interact with and extract hydrologic information on their farmland.

(3)  Develop a detailed modelling-based assessment of the value of perennial forages, grasslands and wetlands in moderating and/or mitigating the risks of drought and flooding in the basin. These results can be used a basis for developing new risk management tools.


  • Through its dashboards, ISM and Aquanty Inc. are prepared to provide service and support, to collaborate with organizations to develop and execute additional model scenarios, update the model and the system, develop local or regional scale models from the basin scale models, and/or provide HGS training and technical support to individuals.
  • Ongoing maintenance and operational costs will be dependent on what is asked of the model and web based ISM analytics.

At Project End

  • At the end of March, 2018 we will have a working model that can be used to predict the impact on water movement within the Assiniboine River Basin of certain basic changes to infrastructure as well as the impact of changes in the area dedicated to perennial forages and/or grasslands.
  • We will also be able to evaluate the hydrologic response of the basin to extreme weather events, such as high snow melt rates, heavy rain or prolonged drought.
  • Also note that it is not the original intention of this model to be a near real-time flood forecasting tool. Such functionality is possible, however, extensive testing and validation would be required before the model could be prudently applied in a near real time operations scenario.


  • MFGA will own the final licence for all groups and stakeholders to access the MFGA Aquanty project model.
  • As a project management team, we are currently developing the parameters around that privilege for the best and most-meaningful uptake by all stakeholders.
  • There will be a financial commitment for all stakeholders to access the MFGA Aquanty Model.
  • However, in principle, MFGA wants the model to be used by as many stakeholders as possible and is determined to develop a reasonable fee structure that encourages grassroots participation.