The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has released a new water monitoring report that examines the status the Basin’s water resources.
The report aims to understand trends and changes that are influencing water quality and quantity throughout the Basin,with an eye to understanding how climate change may affect various types of water resources, such as snowfall, glaciers,rivers and lakes.
The report contains several recommendations, including improving monitoring of snow and glaciers, and of smaller streams used for community water supplies.
“Climate change is impacting our lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, groundwater and glaciers. Water quality and quantity data are necessary for informed decision-making regarding water allocation, source water and groundwater protection,environmental flow requirements for fish and healthy water-based ecosystems,” said Columbia Valley resident and LivingLakes Canada director Kat Hartwig in a press release on the report. “Community-based water stewardship is an opportunity for communities and citizens in the Columbia Basin to work collaboratively to collect the data necessary to help support in formed water decisions and to build climate resilient communities.”
The report is intended to help managers, professional and citizen scientists, communities and residents to better understand and prepare for changes to come.
“One of our roles is to provide well-researched and current information that can support residents and communities to strengthen well-being in the Basin,” said CBT Water and Environment manager Tim Hicks in the release. “That’s why we commissioned this report — to summarize current knowledge about water in the Basin and to identify knowledge gaps that could be filled to support ecosystem stewardship, community water supply planning and a range of other activities.”
“Acquiring long-term data about water is essential as it helps us better understand the effects of climate change on Basin water resources,” said Nelson-based climate scientist Mel Reasoner. “In turn, this informs planning processes that can helpBasin communities address water-related challenges in the future.”
The CBT outlined that water monitoring is particularly relevant to higher-volume water users such as communities,hydropower operators, agricultural producers, industrial operations and snowmaking at ski resorts, and can also benefit commercial and private recreational users.
“Having sufficient water at all times of the year is critical to keeping our hydro facilities running so that Basin residents can continue to have reliable power,” said Columbia Power Corporation environment manager Wendy Horan. “This report will bea valuable tool for assisting us in being better prepared for what the future holds.”
To see the full report visit www.ourtrust.org/waterandclimate.