Integrated Water Prediction (IWP)

Science Center Objects

The USGS Integrated Water Prediction science program focuses on the development of advanced models for forecasting multiple water quality and quantity attributes including water budgets and components of the water cycle; water use; temperature; dissolved and suspended water constituents, and ecological conditions. It is also developing the cyberinfrastructure and workflows required to implement national and local-scale models to be used by water resource managers over the decades ahead.

The Integrated Water Prediction (IWP) science program will transform hydrologic modeling software development within the USGS and for the Nation. While the USGS is a leader in the development of hydrologic computer models, including models for water quantity, water quality, and water use, among others, water resource managers are increasingly faced with new challenges that require tighter integration of these models with other components of the earth system to a scale that is currently not feasible. The IWP science program seeks to advance our integrative modeling capabilities by working with developers, both internal and external to the USGS, to establish an evidence-based approach to the evaluation, benchmarking and continual improvement of water prediction capabilities.  


Color image of Denali supercomputer

Photo of the USGS supercomputers housed at the USGS EROS Data Center. The computational and modeling strengths of the USGS and other federal agencies will be important for the implementation of the Integrated Water Prediction science program. (Credit: Steven Young, USGS Contractor)

The IWP team is currently spearheading two initial activities: 

Hydro-Terrestrial Earth Systems Testbed (HyTest) Project 

The HyTest project will create a computational testbed infrastructure to accelerate and improve the iterative cycle of hydrologic model evaluation, benchmarking and development by the water science community. Developed in collaboration with partners at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), HyTest will use a formalized, transparent, and adaptive governance process to integrate the modeling and computational strengths of multiple organizations to identify the science and technological needs that will serve the Nation’s long-term hydrologic prediction capacity at the national, regional, watershed, and local scale.


Enterprise Capacity Project 

The Enterprise Capacity project will establish the modeling framework, software architecture, and standards needed to support the robust, efficient, and sustainable development of integrated water prediction capabilities. The project will focus on: 

  • Cataloging and characterizing existing hydrological modeling codes
  • Evaluating the software design principles and frameworks of existing hydrologic models in collaboration with relevant partner agencies
  • Developing recommendations and criteria for the selection of hydrologic modeling frameworks
  • Complete catalog of existing software used in community testbeds and their workflows in collaboration with relevant partner agencies 
  • Identifying factors that may hinder development of more advanced models 
  • Fostering a community approach to support the long-term implementation, maintenance, and evolution of hydrologic modeling frameworks
Detailed illustration of the water cycle with labels

Among other objectives, the Integrated Water Prediction science program will develop models and the computational infrastructure needed to characterize and predict multiple facets of the water cycle. (Credit: James R. Douglas, USGS)