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Launched: OCTOBER 17, 2023

News Release: Reclamation announces $500,000 in funding for Water Supply Forecast Rodeo

Accurate seasonal water supply forecasts are crucial for effective water resources management in the Western United States. This region faces dry conditions and high demand for water, and these forecasts are essential for making informed decisions. They guide everything from water supply management and flood control to hydropower generation and environmental objectives.

Yet, hydrological modeling is a complex task that depends on natural processes marked by inherent uncertainties, such as antecedent streamflow, snowpack accumulation, soil moisture dynamics, and rainfall patterns. To maximize the utility of these forecasts, it's essential to provide not just accurate predictions, but also comprehensive ranges of values that effectively convey the inherent uncertainties in the predictions.

The goal of this challenge is to develop probabilistic forecast models that predict naturalized cumulative streamflow volume at the 10th, 50th, and 90th percentiles. The challenge will occur over two stages: the Hindcast Stage will evaluate models on historical data simulating real-time forecasting, while the Forecast Stage will run in real-time during the 2024 season. Prizes will be awarded throughout the competition based on the accuracy of model predictions along with the judging of model outputs and write-ups explaining solutions by a panel of technical experts.

By improving the accuracy, explainability, and uncertainty characterization of seasonal streamflow forecasts, water resources managers will be better equipped to operate facilities for high flows, mitigate impacts of drought, improve hydropower generation, and meet environmental targets.

The challenge will occur over two stages:

    Hindcast Stage: Models will be evaluated on historical ground truth data to emulate forecasts that would be made in the past.
    Forecast Stage: Models will be run in near-realtime on a regular cadence from January through July 2024 to issue forecasts for the 2024 season.

Each stage will have its own prizes, and the challenge also has overall prizes that encompasses performance over the whole challenge.

Last Updated: 10/30/23