Research Theme - Climate Change and Water Security

Graduate student Jess Johansson collects water samples at the Estuary Ferry crossing on Lake Diefenbaker.

Using data gathered at key sites across the Saskatchewan River Basin, scientists at the Global Institute for Water Security are developing modelling systems to better understand the effects of climate change on water security and how to improve management practices to adapt to challenges posed by too much – or too little – water.  Tools developed in Saskatchewan have the potential to be used worldwide to evaluate water needs in 2050, 2100 and beyond. 

Understanding the impacts of a changing climate on water resources is of major concern here in Canada and around the world. This need is especially urgent in climates such as Western Canada where the cold region, semi-arid climate creates a hydrological system that is extremely vulnerable to climate change and can be profoundly affected by changes in temperature and precipitation.

Modelling:  The MESH Modelling System: A Community Hydrology - Land Surface Model

Theme Objectives:

  • Improve understanding of interactions between terrestrial ecosystems and atmospheric processes, and of the impacts of climate variability on water-related ecosystem functions
  • Improve the quality of global and regional climate models and enable better downscaling for water-related climate change impacts assessment
  • Improve assessment of water supply and quality variability, including climate change impacts
  • Enable policy development by commercializing new decision support tools for water security analysis
  • Reinforce and establish internationally-leading science

Research Sites:

St. Denis National Wildlife Area
Brightwater Creek
Boreal Ecosystem and Modelling Sites (BERMS)
Canadian Rocky Mountains - Marmot Creek and Peyto Glacier
Sibbald Lake Research Basin

water