Data management

The Global Water Futures program aims to support and promote a culture of data stewardship as one of the most important legacies of this program will be the data products generated by its many projects. This approach is key to the success of the program as science at its core is a data driven endeavor. The quality of data directly affects the quality of science-based knowledge that it can generate and thereby the soundness of decision-making processes for which the data and science provide a foundation. The vast investment of time and resources in the collection of environmental data warrants significant attention be paid to its preservation. To this end, the Data Management team works with stakeholders to champion a standard and process based data governance strategy. The technology driven framework aims to help manage GWF data throughout the research cycle as described in the GWF Data Policy.

The research conducted by GWF projects spans many areas of study and collection methods (observation, instrumentation, human interaction and modelling). Archiving this breadth of data will utilize both domain specific repositories(such as Ameriflux) and general repositories (such as FRDR). In addition, specific water and climate related data will be aggregated and housed in a GWF repository to help build a Pan-Canadian resource for water and climate research. While data will be preserved in a distributed manner, the GWF metadata catalogue will aggregate data documentation to enable data discovery and contribution to future scientific exploration.

Data Management WIKI

The Data Management WIKI pulls together information and resources on various aspects of data management including:

  • Data Management Best Practices
  • Data Management Planning
  • Storage and Processing of Data
  • Data Documentation (Metadata)

Content is added regularly, and topic requests are welcome.

GWF Data Policy

The GWF Data Policy was established to guide data management activities to assist researchers in meeting the GWF commitment to make data generated through the program available to others by following data stewardship guided by the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) principles.

You may view the full GWF Data Policy below.

GWFNet Metadata Catalogue

GWFNet is a catalogue of metadata related to datasets, model outputs, observatories, sites, stations, and other information across GWF.

Data portal

Data Portal is a one stop shop for your data needs. On the Data Portal web page, you can find a map with over 80 observatories of GWF program and can see more information about them by clicking on their info box. In addition, by one click you have access to GWF Data Policy, data access, forecasts and published datasets.

Access data software

Water Information System Kisters (WISKI)

In the GWF data portal, WISKI(Water Information Systems KISTERS) is used for accessing data (i.e., hydrometeorological, hydrometric, soil moisture, snowpack, water quality, and groundwater). WISKI, developed by KISTERS, represents the culmination of more than 25 years of experience developing software solutions for the water industry. WISKI is a proven data management platform that integrates application modules with powerful statistical, data analysis, modeling and visualization features.

WISKI Web Interface

KISTERS' web portal makes data access simple and information sharing efficient. Organizations define their intended audience and quality-controlled datasets they choose to share. They also control privileges for portal visitors to download data and reports, and save charts and graphs.

WISKI Web Interface

WISKI Training Documents

The following are resources available to assist with accessing and using the WISKI database:

WISKI Homepage WISKI Training Website How to use WISKI

Real-time graph access

Through the Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN), public is able to access real-time graphs from many research stations throughout the Saskachewan and Mackenzie river basins. Various information is avaiable to be viewed in hourly, 3-hourly or daily timesteps and includes variables such as temperature, precipitation, soil moisture/temperature, wind speed and direction and snow depth. 

GWF will expand on this initiative to include many more sites across Canada. Stay tuned for increased access to real-time data stations!

Please note that the information is presented in a mobile friendly format but can still be viewed on desktop computers. 

Datasets generated by previous projects

Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN)

The Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN) was an NSERC-funded Canadian research consortium with a focus to integrate existing and new experimental data with modelling and remote sensing products to understand, diagnose, and predict changing land, water, and climate, and their interactions and feedbacks over the geographic domain of the Mackenzie and Saskatchewan River Basins in Canada. The network operated a set of 14 unique and focused Water, Ecosystem, Cryosphere and Climate (WECC) observatories within this region, which provide opportunities to observe and understand processes and their interaction, as well as develop and test numerical simulation models, and provide validation data for remote sensing products.

Improving Processes & Parameterization for Prediction in Cold Regions Hydrology (IP3)

The Improved Processes and Parameterization for Prediction in Cold Regions Hydrology Network (IP3) was a CFCAS-funded initiative in 2006-2010. The prime objective of this network was to improve understanding of cold regions hydro-meteorology for prediction of ungauged basins, changes in snow and water supplies, and calculation of freshwater inputs to the Arctic Ocean.


Stephen O'Hearn, IT Coordinator and Data Management Team Lead, University of Saskatchewan
Laleh Moradi, Data Support Analyst, University of Saskatchewan
Kyle Kendall, Research Data Analyst, University of Saskatchewan
Bhaleka Persaud, Research Data Manager, Waterloo University
Michael Steeleworthy, Wilfrid Laurier University
Anju Air, Data Manager, Wilfrid Laurier University
Gordon Drewitt, Data Manager, McMaster University