Watershed Science

Watershed Modelling

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Alberta’s economy depends on an adequate and predictable supply of water. Water intensive industries including irrigated agriculture, industries reliant on hydroelectric power, and the oil and gas sector and all require predictable water for a healthy future. However, climate change and climate variability will undoubtedly alter the spatial and temporal water supplies for the province of Alberta. Understanding the dynamics of the different water flows and endowments in space and time is needed to allow timely policy decisions and better targeted investments in efficient water infrastructures and management facilities.

Events such as the 2013 flood in Calgary and the summer drought in the Edmonton region in 2015 necessitate that proper mitigation measures be adapted to accommodate future climate variability and future climate change scenarios. The economic and social costs of poor decisions for adaptation cannot be overstated. This project will seek to convey to stakeholders the risks and opportunities to their future growth scenarios as a result of changes in future local water availability. Long-term integrated water management requires all sectors of the economy: agriculture, ecosystem services, municipal, industrial and energy (both oil and gas and hydroelectric) to collaborate to ensure there is enough water, when we need it, to ensure a strong economy.

In collaboration with Dr. Monireh Faramarzi , this research program addresses issues related to Future Water Supply and Watershed Management in Alberta. This project specifically proposes to examine the projected future water demand scenarios in light of recently developed water supply scenarios for Alberta. This project will provide two key deliverables, A) advancing the knowledge of WA forecasting for Alberta and B) engaging stakeholders through a series of interactive workshops to identify imbalances in WA/WD scenarios. Bringing together future WA scenarios (as defined by the science) and future projected WD (as refined by stakeholder projection scenarios) is absolutely necessary to gain consensus to implement adaptation strategies to mitigate potential economic, environmental and social consequences.


Improving stormwater management systems


The goals of this research program, in collaboration with Clearflow Group of companies, is to manage water quality problems in stormwater ponds via a combination of complementary technologies: environmentally friendly polymers, floating treatment wetlands and Nautilus pond design with downstream wetland for further improvement of stormwater quality. Stormwater ponds face continuing water quality problems (e.g. algae blooms and excessive suspended sediments); however, there is still no single environmentally responsible method to solve such problems. The technologies mentioned above are currently not used to their full potential mainly due to the lack of large-scale studies of their effectiveness in pollution control and environmental effects. Synergistic benefits of combining these technologies in combating pollution in stormwater ponds are the subject of this research program. In this program, we measure and model the efficiency of these combined technologies in controlling suspended sediments, nutrients, chloride, algae, fecal bacteria, heavy metals oxygen demand, oil and grease and other organics in urban stormwater ponds. Equal in importance will be our research into potential long-term environmental effects of these technologies in stormwater ecosystems.

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