Delft-FEWS is an open, configurable and extendable data handling platform initially developed as a flood forecasting and warning system. Essentially it is a sophisticated collection of modules designed for building a hydrological forecasting system customised to the specific requirements of an individual organisation. Deltares promotes third-parties to develop around Delft-FEWS to customize it to the client’s needs in the water domain. Forecasting water availability and optimizing irrigation related water demands fits perfectly within this vision of current and future applications of Delft-FEWS.
Delft-FEWS is the basis of some of the most advanced hydrological forecasting systems available including for National Weather Service (USA), Bureau of Meteorology (Australia), Environment Agency (England), SEPA (Scotland), FOEN (Switzerland) and the Dutch national forecasting agencies. It is used for a variety of applications worldwide; for some examples browse through the showcases.
Map visualizing Delft-FEWS Implementations worldwide
“Delft-FEWS is being used in over 40 countries as the main forecasting product”
Delft-FEWS has a large international user community including national and regional agencies. Every year Deltares organizes the Delft-FEWS User Days, a two-day event which allows the users to share their experiences and new developments with other Delft-FEWS users across the globe.
Customization through configuration
Of paramount importance in an operational forecasting system is an efficient connection to external data sources. Delft-FEWS provides import modules that allow import of data from external sources such as on-line meteorological data or hydrological data from external databases. These data include for example time series obtained from telemetry systems such as observed water levels, observed precipitation, but also meteorological forecast data, radar data and numerical weather predictions. The import of external data also supports ensemble weather predictions now commonly produced by a number of meteorological forecasting agencies. Data that is imported can automatically be quality-controlled, and where this is lacking erroneous values can be flagged, or removed. The system also provides the capability for forecasts to develop and run scenarios. These which can help quickly establish the effects of different input scenarios, so that forecasters can stress-test the system.
Example of a configurable schematic representation in Delft-FEWS
Customization by expanding to more advanced modelling
The philosophy of Delft-FEWS is to provide an open system that allows a wide range of existing forecasting models to be used. This concept is supported by the general adapter module, which communicates to external modules through an open interface, effectively allowing “plugging-in” of practically any forecasting model. The great advantage of this open interface is that existing hydrological and hydraulic models and modelling capabilities can easily be integrated in the forecasting system, without the need for expensive re-modelling using a specific model. Delft-FEWS provides easy to understand, advanced graphical and map-based displays to help the user carry out the required tasks for hydrological forecasting in a structured way. Forecast results can be disseminated through several channels, including configurable HTML formatted reports, allowing easy communication to relevant authorities and public through intranet and internet.
Example of showing consecutive model runs in Delft-FEWS using thumbnails
Customization within your own domain
Besides customizing Delft-FEWS to your needs by configuring your displays, data handling routines and coupling models, you can add functionality by connecting Python-, R- and (Windows) batch scripts. These scripts can be called from the general adapter in the same way that an external (forecasting) model is called and configured. By adding your (water)domain specific knowledge, algorithms and output (post)processing, you are enabled to give your domain a specific twist to your Delft-FEWS application. This high rate of flexibility of Delft-FEWS therefore puts you one step ahead for example in river basin management and forecasting of water availability.
Example of visualizing results of (external) python calculations in Delft-FEWS
G. Boot – Delft-FEWS Product Manager Developments, Deltares
P. Trambauer – Researcher/Consultant Operational Water Management & Early Warning, Deltares