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11 Fantastic Free Weather and Water Internet Tools

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Water & Environmental


Are you aware of the open source internet tools that have been developed to help make better decisions around weather and water management? They can help you to see where water is going, help save water and save time by using plans that other people have spent years working on.

Many people and organisations are committed to improving our environment and the free sharing of information. Make the best possible use of global intelligence and work smarter with some of this free software or web info.

The following informational websites and software downloads are relevant to Africa (except for no.11, which is very new) and presented in increasing order of professionalism required.


1. Long Term Climate Forecast

Want to know what the next 3 – 6 months of weather will be like in Southern Africa? As most of us have found out, weather forecasts are not a predictable science, but experts can use models to indicate what we may expect in terms of temperature, rainfall and El Niño, La Niña cycles over the next few months.

NAME: Seasonal Forecast – informational website
SITE LINK: http://www.weathersa.co.za/home/seasonal
DESCRIPTION: Consists of Seasonal Climate Watch and Long Range Forecast with
Forecast of temperatures and rainfall for a maximum 6 month period.
Expert discussion and maps.
USEFUL FOR: Planning of water and temperature resources
Planting of gardens / crops
Readiness for possible big events, such as floods and droughts



2. Home Water Usage App

An app developed in Cape Town (the city that saved the most water in 2018), this app helps users track their daily water use, and has consistently reduced household water usage.

SITE LINK: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.drop.drop&hl=en_ZA
DESCRIPTION: Track daily water usage
Predict monthly water payments
Leak detection guidance

Tracking daily water usage
Indication of anomalies, such as leaks
Advice on water saving
Ultimately, water conservation



3. Agricultural Weather App for Farmers

Advice for African farmers on the best dates for planting various crops, spraying conditions, irrigating and harvesting. Supported by SA weather service, Agricultural Research Council and the Dutch government. A new app, more functions to be developed.

NAME: Rain for Africa (R4A) – AgriCloud App


DESCRIPTION: Provide agricultural advice to farmers based on weather and climate information at their specific area so as to improve food production.
Nine African languages available.

Forecast maize planting days for the next ten days
Recommend spraying times for next three days
More efficient use of seed, water, pesticides and fertiliser
Sharing and improvement of weather information amongst farmers



4. Beach Pathogen Indicator

This software is now on its 3rd version and was developed by the US EPA. Software that uses Excell, maps and environmental data to aid beach managers, consultants or researchers to develop computer models, in order to help predict levels of pathogens at recreational lake or saltwater beaches.

NAME: Virtual Beach – software package


DESCRIPTION: Assists in the development of site-specific statistical models that help predict pathogen indicator levels at fresh or salt water recreational beaches.

Short-term forecasts of beach water quality
Predicting E.coli and enterococci bacteria levels at beaches, thus helping managers decide when to close a beach
Studying relationships between water quality indicators and ambient environmental conditions



5. Water Resource Management Tool

Another software model developed by the US EPA for community water managers and planners. New version includes a water quality module.
Facilitates integrated water management at the local or small watershed scale. Models the environmental effects and costs of management decisions in a watershed context that is, accounting for the direct and indirect effects of decisions. The model considers water flows and water quality.

NAME: Watershed Management Optimization Tool (WMOST)


DESCRIPTION: A decision support tool for water resource managers and planners. Screen a wide range of potential water resources management options across an area for cost-effectiveness and environmental and economic sustainability.

Helps water resource managers and planners to find the most cost-effective, environmental and economically sustainable decisions that can improve water quantity and quality.
Integrated water management of stormwater, wastewater, drinking water and land conservation.
Helps reduce overflows from combined sewer systems.
Flood management.
View case studies



6. Lovibond® Handbook of Water Testing Methods

An up-to-date digital download version of the Lovibond® Handbook of Methods (2018) is available as a free download.
The new Lovibond® Handbook of Methods includes the existing 155 Lovibond® water testing methods in eight languages, with more to follow.
Originated as a thick, red book “Colorimetric Chemical Analytical Methods" published in 1953 and used by chemists around the world.

NAME: Lovibond® Water Testing – Handbook of Methods



900 page digital book describes the method for testing each parameter / substance in water quality analysis in detail, with step-by-step pictorial instructions.
Includes basics about water analysis, references for sources and norms, suitable reagents including part numbers, explanations of potential interferences
Barcode innovation – each method contains a barcode which starts the test recognition automatically for the Lovibond® XD Spectrophotometers


Correct performance of water quality tests



7. River Basin Game

Free downloadable game developed by the University of Twente.
The roleplay game includes an excell model, four game boards (one for each country), water and commodity notes, role descriptions, country data sheets and a power point presentation for providing introduction and feedback.

NAME: River Basin Game


DESCRIPTION: A fun game that illustrates the globalization of water roleplay.
The aim is to get hands-on experience with the links between national consumption of food, natural fibres and bio-energy from agriculture on the one hand, balanced with the use of water resources across the globe.

Educational tool for university students, academics or water professionals.



8. WRC e-Tools

The South African Water Research Commission (WRC) produces various software programmes as a part of their research projects, which can be useful to water suppliers in South Africa.

NAME: WRC e-Tools: Free Water Software


DESCRIPTION: Benchmarking of leakage for water suppliers in South Africa
Design and analysis tool for packed saturators used in dissolved air flotation
Economic model for leakage management for water suppliers in South Africa
  Asset management for the water services sector in South Africa
Database on wetland plants with economic potential
Water quality management for small communities
Characterise water and determine chemical dosages to soften and / stabilise

Management of water services in South Africa



9. Wastewater Treatment Plant Design Tool

Open-source knowledge sharing and design tool developed over three years by experienced design and engineering firms to help drive innovation in the water sector. Non-technical and technical professionals can generate designs in hours instead of weeks.
Free cloud service.

NAME: WWTPdesigns.com


DESCRIPTION: Wastewater / sewage treatment plants

Generates preliminary engineering design documents for conventional activated sludge wastewater treatment plants, including Equipment List, Process Flow and Site Plan.
Utilities, construction companies, city planners, real estate developers, and design engineers.
Options for basic / advanced designs.



10. International Statistics and Economics for Water

The International Water Ass. hosts a forum to discuss the financing of water utilities, the water tariff structures, performance indicators, efficiency and economics of water organizations and themes like total cost recovery.

NAME: International Water Association Network – Finances and statistics


DESCRIPTION: Provide water surveys and statistics on water industry, including tables and figures on abstraction, consumption, tariffs and data on sewerage and wastewater treatment. 

Water professionals



11. Space O

New space technology for water wise management, case studies in Europe, but capable of worldwide expansion.
Developed by an international multi-disciplinary research consortium.

NAME: International Water Association Network – Finances and statistics


DESCRIPTION: The Space-O project is a decision support platform that combines satellite technology with advanced hydrological, hydrodynamic and ecological modelling, in-situ monitoring and citizen science.

Early warning system of water quality deterioration that can impact on downstream water utility services
Catchment risk assessment
Water quality forecasts, including turbidity and algal blooms.
Optimise drinking water treatment operations.
Case studies

September 2018.

Can you think of any open source weather or water management tools that are also great to share and use? Please mention them in the comments below.

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