Water Management

The absence and presence of water is central to Prairie history–be it a multi-year drought or a 100-year flood. As a region that already experiences a great deal of seasonal variation, a reliable and predictable water supply cannot be taken for granted with the added stress of a changing climate.

Climate change carries significant implications for water resources by altering the quantity, variability, timing, and intensity of precipitation. The Prairies are anticipated to experience longer, hotter, and drier conditions punctuated by episodic heavy precipitation events.

Building climate resilience on the Prairies requires detailed flood and drought risk assessments as well as adaptation strategies that balance flood protection with conservation of water on the landscape.

Through our network, ClimateWest can support access to models and management techniques that consider climate change impacts on water resources. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has experience supporting watershed and basin-based management that incorporates Indigenous perspectives and applies adaptive monitoring, as well as developing project indicators to track water-related benefits. The Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative (PARC) can harness its unique tree-ring dataset to reveal the frequency and severity of drought over hundreds of years prior to systematic measurement. The Prairie Climate Centre hosts some of the country’s leading hydrology researchers.