The strategic focus of the Prairies RAC is on water management policy and on adaptation to climate change impacts on water resources and watersheds. Therefore, compiling and delivering scenarios of the future regional water supply, use and demand are important components of the PRAC and will provide essential technical support for all other PRAC activities and objectives. Other proposed PRAC projects will address natural resource policy and management issues that depend to a large extent on the future availability and use of water. In particular, the component of the PRAC that will address the resource management and policy implications of drought and excessive moisture will require scenarios of future water supply and demand and especially probabilities of future departures from average hydroclimatic conditions.

Without this information on future water supply and demand, the Prairies RAC and decision makers in general, will have limited technical capacity to address adaptation options, adaptive management practices and appropriate policy for planned adaptation to climate change.

To achieve an integrated analysis of future water supply and demand, and the potential for, and cost of, water deficits, the PRAC water resource management theme is divided into two activity areas:

  • Hydro-Climate Scenarios, Water Demand and Deficits - Hydroclimatic scenarios for the 2020s (2010-39) and 2050s (2040-69) including changes in the frequency, magnitude and duration of departures from average conditions (i.e. drought and excessive moisture), as well as current and future demand with consideration of changing hydroclimate.

  • Socio-economic impacts Pilot study - Inventories of current water use and demand and future projections based on social and economic trends, and by applying socioeconomic and climate change scenarios to current levels and trends of water use and demand, establishing the probabilities and economic cost of future water deficits.

A critical common activity will be to assemble relevant water data from a wide variety of government and non-government sources, representing both environmental and economic variables and statistics, as the basis for developing scenarios of future supply and demand. Collaboration among technical experts, water managers and policy analysts will be essential to ensure that the integrated water supply and demand scenarios are applied to decision making that addresses the impacts of social change and development and climate on prairie water resources.

The proposal takes advantage of the opportunity to collaborate across Prairie jurisdictions on common objectives. By the completion of the PRAC water resources related activities decision makers should have advanced on the continuum to Focused Awareness and Comprehensive Understanding at least, with decision points possible.

The water supply and demand scenarios and the socio-economic work will build on existing collaborations, projects and partnerships, such that scenarios of future water balances will be applied to adaptation decision making before the work of the PRAC is complete. An important aspect of this collaborative work will be to deliver and translate the hydroclimatic scenarios to resource managers and policy analysts according to their requirements for technical information in support of adaptation planning. Training resource managers and decision makers to understand and apply scenarios of hydroclimate variability and change will enhance adaptive capacity in their sector.

Go to the Water theme publications or view all PUBLICATIONS.