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ACT author’s national tour on Canadian water governance off to a strong start

The author of ACT’s new Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance report, Bob Sandford, is travelling across Canada this Fall, talking to Canadians about water governance and what needs to be done in Canada to preserve and protect our most precious resource.

Bob’s first two stops on his cross-Canada tour took place in Regina and Saskatoon on October 6th and 7th. Both cities expressed outstanding interest in this crucial topic for Canadians, including support from the many scientists and research networks at universities in the two cities that are doing work on water and climate change issues.

Saskatchewan experienced droughts and floods in the same basin this year, with farmers submitting insurance claims for both in a first for the insurance industry. The issue of flooding, accurately projected from climate models, is a major concern for the people of Saskatchewan and this was manifested at the tour stop through questions regarding ways the province’s water infrastructure should be managed and how to account for the “new normal”.

“The new normal” refers to increasing deviation from the climate conditions that we are used to, in a shift to climate patterns that are outside our historic frame of reference, caused by climate change. Bob remarked that “the new normal” (also known as a loss of stationarity) is a framework that the people of Saskatchewan should consider as a reference when planning for climate change adaptation.

Saskatchewan is about to engage in the development of a new provincial water strategy. Most of the questions raised related to how best to raise the profile of water policy reform in the province. Complimenting this process was discussion about the ground breaking Northwest Territories (NWT) Water Strategy: Northern Voices, Northern Waters. Discussion focused on how to learn from and overcome the obstacles that were faced in the NWT case study; namely, the obstacles of the NWT Water Strategy may be similar to those Saskatchewan will face in its water policy reforms, and may therefore offer solutions.

The considerations and lessons learned from the NWT strategy will likely prove useful to Saskatchewan in their efforts to determine the depth and extent of water policy reform necessary to allow the province to adapt to changing hydrological conditions.

Bob’s next stop on the tour is Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 13th. To follow the tour and to learn about some of the comprehensive issues related to water management in these Canadian cities, please follow the ACT blog.

Robert W. Sandford, EPCOR Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of United Nations “Water for Life” Decade, and author of ACT’s Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance reports, is touring Canada speaking about water governance policy. Tim Shah, ACT PICS Water intern will be reporting on Robert’s progress in this blog.

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