A team of international researchers, led by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, has developed a new toolkit that revolutionizes the opportunities for water industry software developers.

The scientists have, for the first time, provided a common standard for linking essential computer programmes that help balance our water supplies against the demand from domestic, leisure and industrial users.

The Open Modelling Interface (OpenMI) will make life easier for thousands of water and environmental managers across Europe, and open up the business market for small companies and universities who are developing computer models.

Under the EU’s Water Framework Directive water managers must consider all of the likely social, economic and environmental impacts of their policies before they implement them. The OpenMI will help them to do this and also save them money.

Roger Moore, the Open MI project leader from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, explained:

“Water and environmental managers use computer models to help them find solutions to problems and predict how their decisions and actions will affect a whole chain of different elements. For example, a few years ago they might only have considered the benefits to a region’s economy by allowing power-boating on lakes. They now have to balance that decision against what effect the noise and possible pollution of this activity will have on the water, the plants and fish, and the local fishing industry.”

The OpenMI is being launched at a meeting hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on 15 February 2006.

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