Alberta is already facing periods of water scarcity in certain regions and at certain times. Pressures on water resources are mounting due to population growth, economic development, and the impacts of global climate change and spatial and temporal variability of water resources.
The Watershed Science and Modelling Laboratory is actively seeking to improve and leverage the results of an earlier research entitled “Predicting Alberta’s Water Future (PAWF)”. The PAWF research project, funded by Alberta Innovates (3-years: 2014-2016), was unique in that it established the basis to develop tools, data sets, and dynamic predictive modeling at an Alberta wide scale. As such, it is useful across these scales to inform future water policy for all water stakeholder groups in Alberta, including the general public. It is built on an earlier study completed for Alberta Innovates (AI, 3-years: 2010-2013), called Dynamics of Alberta’s Water Supplies (DAWS), to systematically assess potential risks triggered by climate variability and change, land use practices, demographic trajectories, and economic developments to Alberta’s water resources and dependent systems. This helps identify opportunities during periods of water surplus and development of management strategies to address water scarcity through the identification of adaptation options. The PAWF research project is predicated on a deliberate, participatory and advanced forward-looking approach to assessing and mapping Alberta’s Water Security issues. It has laid the basis to greatly enhance current efforts by the province, and AI, to develop and implement innovative management concepts to ensure the provision of safe, secure drinking water supplies to Albertans, healthy aquatic ecosystems, and reliable water supplies for a sustainable economy.