Aquatic ecosystems in the United States and around the globe are experiencing increasing variability due to human activities. Provisioning drinking water in the face of rapid change in environmental conditions motivates the need to develop forecasts of future water quality. Near-term water quality forecasts can guide management actions over day to week time scales to mitigate potential disruptions in drinking water and other essential freshwater ecosystem services.

To maximize the utility of water quality forecasts for managers and decision-makers, the forecasts must be accessible in near-real time, reliable, and continuously updated with environmental sensor data. However, developing iterative, near-term ecological forecasts requires complex cyber-infrastructure that is widely distributed, from sensors and computers collecting information at freshwater lakes and reservoirs to cloud computing services where forecast models are executed. Consequently, significant software challenges still remain for environmental scientists to easily and effectively deploy forecasting workflows.

This project will address this need by designing, implementing, and deploying open-source software — FLARE: Forecasting Lake And Reservoir Ecosystems — that will enable the creation of flexible, scalable, robust, and near-real time iterative ecological forecasts. This software will be tested and widely disseminated to water utilities, drinking water managers, and many other decision-makers.