Participatory Integrated Assessment of Water Management and Climate Change in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia

  • Cohen S
  • Neale T
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Abstract

This is the final report of the study, “Participatory Integrated Assessment of Water Management and Climate Change in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia.” This study was made possible with financial support from the Government of Canada’s Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program (project A846). The research activity described in this report is a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort involving researchers from Environment Canada, Smart Growth on the Ground, the University of British Columbia, and the BC Ministry of Environment, as well as many local partners and researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Australian National University, who participated in our 2002-2004 study. Previous research on climate change and Okanagan water resources since 1997 has provided a potential damage report. Impacts on water supply and water demand have been described, and a dialogue on adaptation options and challenges has been initiated. This study offers a participatory integrated assessment (PIA) of the Okanagan water system’s response to climate change. The goal of the PIA is to expand the dialogue on implications of adaptation choices for water management to include domestic and agriculture uses and in-stream conservation flows, for the basin as a whole as well as for particular sub-regions. This has been accomplished through collaboration with ongoing studies in these areas, and builds on the results of earlier work. The major components of this study are: 1. Residential water demand: developing future demand scenarios for residential users, factoring in population growth and adaptation options; 2. Adaptation costs: expanding the inventory of various supply and demand management measures and incorporating water treatment costs; 3. Decision support model: building a system model, using a group-based process with local experts, which enables learning on impacts of climate and population changes, and the effects of implementation of various adaptation measures; 4. Adaptation policy – residential design: bringing climate change into community design through Smart Growth on the Ground’s process for creating a water-smart community plan in the Town of Oliver and surrounding area; 5. Adaptation policy – agricultural water use: exploring growers’ views on regional water policy.

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Authors

  • Stewart Cohen

  • Tina Neale

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