North American experts gather for Columbia Basin water data conference

Two-day conference aims to modernize Columbia Basin water knowledge to prepare for climate change.

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File photo: Canoeing at Martha Creek. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Experts from across North America will travel to the Columbia Basin region later this month for a conference that will showcase water data-related presentations and research.

Living Lakes Canada, Columbia Basin Trust, the Columbia Basin Watershed Network and Selkirk College are inviting everyone and anyone in the Columbia Basin with an interest in the region’s water resources to join a dialogue that has the potential to protect communities from water challenges in the face of climate change.

The dialogue will take place over two days during a conference in Invermere that will feature roughly 30 experts from across North America presenting on a range of water data-related topics, from collaborative water monitoring for source water protection, to water data hubs and government databases, to the health of Canada’s fresh waters, to best practices and collaborative data sharing with government and industry. The important water data gaps identified in the Columbia Basin Trust’s February 2017 report Water Monitoring and Climate Change in the Upper Columbia Basin will also be addressed.

“This is about climate change and understanding that the hydrology in the Columbia Basin is changing and will have impact on us and all of our lives,” said Living Lakes Canada executive director Kat Hartwig. “Climate modelling has predicted melting glaciers will change the water flows that we already experience. Much of the important data needed for future water allocation decisions is missing right now and that’s what needs to be discussed so we can have an understanding of what is required, not only for municipal water use and flow required for fish, but also the potential impacts to recreation and tourism and farming and fishing.”

The dialogue will have particular relevance to the region’s higher-volume users such as communities and municipalities, hydropower operators, agricultural producers, industrial operations, ski resorts (snowmaking), golf courses, as well as commercial and residential users.

Bursaries and day rates are available as well as carpooling options for registrants. For more information, a detailed agenda and to register, visit www.livinglakescanada.ca/news/cracking-the-code/.

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