Hydrologic assessment of a small maritime hydrometric monitoring network using a combined inductive-deductive process-informed catchment classification system


The National Hydrometric Program, operated by the Water Survey of Canada, is the primary source of water resourcessurface water quantity data in Canada. The network is cost-shared between the federal and provincial governments, and decisions relating to station placement are made according to both federal and provincial interests. Nova Scotia is a small maritime province on the Atlantic Coast ofin Atlantic Canada. It is that is roughly one third the size of England and Wales and has a diverse climate and geology. The Nova Scotia hydrometric monitoring network currently consists of just 31 stations. The overall objective of this study was to determine how well the current network captures the level of hydrologic variability expected in the province using a regional catchment classification scheme. To accomplish this, we developed a combined inductive-deductive catchment classification system and applied it to the province’s active monitoring network and 250+ ungauged major watersheds. Initially, hydrologic signatures were used to quantify the catchment function of 47 long-term gauged catchments and to cluster similarly behaving catchments. We identified five generalized flow classes and then attempted to replicate this classification using a deductive-based decision tree framework with physiographic and meteorological explanatory variables. The validated decision tree was used to classify the active hydrometric network and 250+ major watersheds in the province. The network was assessed to determine how well it covered the expected hydrologic variability in the major watersheds across the province. The decision tree proved to be a useful tool for understanding the current network’s coverage and could also be easily applied by practitioners to identify appropriate donor catchments for ungauged watersheds.

European Geosciences Union