Streamflow Forecast Rodeo

The Big Thompson River as it flows through Estes, Park Colorado.

The Big Thompson River as it flows through Estes Park, Colorado.

Launch: August 28, 2020

Awarded: March 15, 2022

Learn more and see the final leaderboard >>

Streamflow forecasting is integral to water management, and with higher skill forecasts water managers are better equipped to operate facilities for high flows, mitigate impacts of drought, and achieve other improved outcomes like hydropower generation.

This challenge seeks to improve the skill of short-term streamflow forecasts (10 days) via a year-long competition. It is intended for solvers to develop and implement their methods for locations across the western United States to ideally outperform state-of-practice streamflow forecasts. With this approach, Reclamation aims to spur innovation using data science communities and Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) methods toward enhancing streamflow forecasts.

Prior to the start, teams will have the opportunity to participate in a “pre-season” to build and refine their forecasting systems. This will help to generate interest in the real-time competition and better position teams to compete with the state-of-practice forecasts. A successful challenge outcome will be short-term streamflow forecasts (10 days) with skill scores higher than the state of practice methods. Participants will compete with several benchmark, state-of-practice forecasts.

Reclamation is partnering with the CEATI International’s Hydropower Operations and Planning Interest Group (CEATI HOPIG), NASA Tournament Lab and Topcoder on this crowdsourcing competition. Partnering with CEATI HOPIG includes a companion project providing benchmarks the competitors will be evaluated against, as well as scoring of solver forecasts by RTI International. Other contributors include Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Launch News Release

Award News Release


Ken Nowak |
Ian Ferguson |

Last Updated: 11/4/22