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 have implemented an operational forecasting and warning system to inform bathers about beach water quality along the coastline. IMDC has designed and developed this online system, trained the users, and provided support and maintenance.
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 is 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.
The system is officially in use since the summer of 2022: https://twitter.com/VMMbe/status/1546783394104737794.