Reclamation selects Streamflow Forecast Rodeo winners

March 16, 2022
Using AI and machine learning, the winning crowdsourced methods show promise in complementing traditional streamflow forecast methods.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has selected 10 winners from its year-long Streamflow Forecast Rodeo prize competition.

Contestants developed methods for making 10-day streamflow forecasts for multiple locations across the Western United States and entries were judged based on how closely those predictions matched the actual streamflow. The competition required successful outcomes to outperform several state-of-practice methods for short-term forecasts.

The 10 selected winners will share $435,000 in prize money. The winners included programmers and data scientists from across the globe.

"Improving streamflow forecasts will allow water management to be more efficient with storage and deliveries, opening new opportunities for reservoir operations," said Reclamation Chief Engineer David Raff. "We are excited to explore the winning solutions with our forecasting and water management partners."

The use of a crowdsourcing competition was to encourage finding more advanced methods of producing short-term streamflow forecasts.

In developing their methods for streamflow forecasting, competitors primarily used artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches. These crowdsourced methods show promise in complementing traditional streamflow forecast methods.

For this competition, Reclamation partnered with CEATI International’s Hydropower Operations and Planning Interest Group, NASA Tournament Lab, Department of Energy’s Waterpower Technologies Office, Tennessee Valley Authority, HydroQuebec, and Topcoder.

eclamation has been conducting prize-competitions since 2015, spurring innovation and engaging national, international and non-traditional problem-solver communities. Prize competitions also complement traditional research methods by targeting persistent science and technology challenges.

Reclamation's Water Prize Competition Center offers more details on the Streamflow Forecast Rodeo.