A Fistful of Projects: A Cloud-Based System for BMP Tracking and Visualization
With each new MS4 Permit cycle, tracking and reporting requirements tend to become increasingly more complex. The latest MS4 Permit renewal for Los Angeles County brought a sea change to tracking and reporting for the 85 Permittees, primarily because the Permit includes Watershed Management Programs (WMPs) whereby Permittees conduct monitoring and annual reporting on a watershed basis. Starting with the 2015-16 annual report, rather than a singular County-wide annual report, the Permittees now submit approximately 30 annual reports (one per watershed group). At the same time, the Regional Board developed new templates / forms for annual reporting that request new types of information including: intensive tracking of LID projects implemented by developers, detailed assessment questions regarding the effectiveness of implemented BMPs, and quantification of the volumes of stormwater being retained by implemented BMPs. These new requirements motivated the Los Angeles County Flood Control District (LACFCD) to lead development of a web-based reporting system for the MS4 Permittees in LA County, called the Watershed Reporting Adaptive Management & Planning System (WRAMPS). WRAMPS is a first-of-its-kind reporting system that is organize around two “modules” with customized capabilities, as follows:
- The Annual Reporting Module generates watershed-based annual reports for the WMP Groups. The module contains routines to “roll up” answers provided by the individual Permittees in each group to create watershed-based assessments. The Annual Reporting Module digitizes the Regional Board’s annual reporting templates and converts user entries into compiled PDFs with a cover page, signature page, attachments and all the required sections. The module also includes a dashboard to show submittal status and the percent completion for each section. The Reporting Module has greatly reduced the amount of time to generate annual reports, and was successfully used by over 50 cities for the 2015-16 annual report submittal.
- The Projects Module allows each Permittee to track the BMPs implemented in its jurisdiction and quantifies the volume of stormwater being managed by those BMPs. Customized pages allow users to enter information for LID projects (either developer-built or municipal retrofits), green streets and regional facilities (e.g., infiltration basins). The landing page for the module includes a vibrant map that displays the projects along with key GIS layers such as watershed boundaries, etc. For each project entered, the system quantifies the potential stormwater capture for an array of conditions and durations: average year, wet year, 85th percentile 24-hour storm event, and others. The stormwater volume captured and treated are estimated using a series of “performance curves” in the back-end based on over 6 million simulations using the USEPA-developed software SUSTAIN (System for Urban Stormwater Treatment and Analysis). A visualization dashboard displays dynamic charts and tables to display the cumulative performance of all the projects in each jurisdiction, organized by project type and watershed. Users can query the projects to display subsets of projects in the dashboard and generate customized reports for compliance purposes.
WRAMPS is built within an open-source, cloud-based framework; all of its components are free for download and heavily supported by the open-source community. Hosting is accomplished using Amazon Web Services Elastic Beanstalk. WRAMPS has already been adopted as an integral part of the MS4 reporting workflow by a majority of the Permittees in the County. This presentation will include a live demo of WRAMPS and discuss the application of its modules – it will be interesting to a wide array of agencies including stormwater agencies, regulatory agencies, non-governmental agencies and the private sector.
Dustin is a Director and Professional Hydrologist with Paradigm Environmental, headquartered in San Diego, CA. He specializes in stormwater and watershed planning, including application of water quality modeling tools and web-based systems. He has undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics from Western Kentucky University and graduate degrees in hydrologic science and environmental engineering from the University of California – Davis.