Operational Forecasting System for Bathing Water Quality for the Belgian Coast

IMDC assists the Flemish Agency for Care and Health and the Flanders Environment Agency in the design, development and testing of an online forecasting and warning system to inform bathers about beach water quality along the coastline.

The Flemish Agency for Care and Health and the Flanders Environment Agency are jointly responsible for monitoring the bathing water quality at beaches along the Flemish coast. 

Intense rainfall events can cause overloaded sewage systems to overflow into harbours and the sea. These polluted discharges can potentially impact the beach water quality along the Flemish Coast. 

As part of the water quality monitoring tools, both agencies are preparing to implement an operational forecasting and warning system to inform bathers about beach water quality along the coastline. IMDC has been requested to design and develop this online system, train the users, and provide support and maintenance during the testing phase. 

The development of the operational forecasting system is supported by data analysis, monitoring campaigns and hydro dynamical and water quality modelling experiences from previous studies performed by IMDC for specific coastal towns. A new more performant numerical model is set up, calibrated and incorporated in the system. 

The aim of the final operational forecasting system will be to automatically run a forecast triggered by storm discharge events to assess the impact on the water quality and if the water quality is below the standard to inform bathers not to swim within a few hours notice. 

Structure of the Synapps environment


Examples of the numerical model mesh and output and Synapps results


Data

  • Client: The Flemish Agency for Care and Health and the Flanders Environment Agency 
  • Start: 2018 
  • Completion: 2020