Understanding Irrigation Demand in Metro Vancouver

About This Project

In the summer of 2015, the Lower Mainland of British Columbia experienced an unusually hot and dry summer.  The province’s declaration of Level 3 and 4 droughts and the related water restrictions brought water management to the forefront of public discussion. While Metro Vancouver is not intuitively associated with water availability concerns, managing water quantity and quality in the region is an ongoing challenge in and outside times of drought; particularly in the agricultural sector–a primary water consumer.

Poor or absent regulation and monitoring of groundwater and surface water use in agriculture severely limits the capacity to assess water reserves and consumption and strategically manage water resources in times of water stress. This creates uncertainty regarding future water availability and risk within the agricultural sector.

The Water Sustainability Act, coming into force in 2016, aims to address this concern by instating groundwater licensing systems as well as regulations to reserve water for agricultural lands. Improving our understanding of the irrigation demand for agricultural production is a crucial step toward strategically managing the water resources upon which the agricultural industry depends.

This investigation aims to address this concern by using the Agricultural Water Demand Model for Metro Vancouver (AWDM) as a comparative assessment tool. The AWDM is used to investigate irrigation demand within Metro Vancouver’s Agricultural Land Reserve in order to inform policy makers with regards to water management.


How to use this site:

Click SHOW to access the navigation menu and view the different project sections. The most thorough understanding can be obtained by viewing the sections the order that they are presented.

A full report can be as a  pdf downloaded here shortly.


Site Description

Summary: An overview of the project’s justification, major findings and conclusions.  What are the concerns related to irrigation in Metro Vancouver agriculture? What tools were used to address these? What are the primary findings and conclusions?

Background The motivation behind this assessment, addressing the following questions;

Why do we care about irrigation in Metro Vancouver?

What are the water quality and quantity concerns in the area? Why should we care?

 Agricultural Water Demand Model: Describes the comparative assessment tool used to complete the investigation.

Project Goals: Specifies the target audience and primary goals of the assessment.

Methods: Describes the procedure followed during the assessment. This section includes Selected parameters and Model Output & Assumptions.

Results: This section addresses the specific questions and scenarios outlined in Project Goals including:

What is the irrigation demand for the major agricultural crops in Metro Vancouver?

How does irrigation demand vary with respect to crops, irrigation systems and soil texture? 

How does irrigation demand vary between wet and dry years?

Scenarios: This section outlines the changes in irrigation demand under two management scenarios:

How might irrigation demand be influenced by a transition to more efficient irrigation systems?

How might irrigation demand be influenced by an expansion of irrigated area?

Future Research:  What areas should be targeted in future research?

Conclusions: An overview of the project findings and  key messages.

Works CitedList of citations referenced within the text.



Photo credit Creative Commons AgriLife Today









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