Project Goals

Project Goals and Target Audience

The previous section described 1) the importance of irrigation for agricultural productivity, 2) the uncertainty regarding current and future water quantity and quality and 3) the potential for future increases in water demand and reductions in water availability. Given these factors, there is a need for regulations to strategically manage this crucial resource.

The Water Sustainability Act, coming into force in early 2016, will replace the present Water Act as the legislation for the management of water resources in British Columbia. The Water Sustainability Act includes regulations that allow for the reservation of water for agricultural purposes [17]. In order for the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations to implement these management tools and facilitate the creation of beneficial policies, an understanding of irrigation demand in the region will be required; something which historically has not been systematically monitored or assessed [17].

This report investigates patterns in irrigation demand for agricultural production with the goal of informing policy under the Water Sustainability Act to support the province’s commitment to reserve water for agricultural lands. The Agricultural Water Demand Model (AWDM) is used to make comparative assessments between irrigation demand among varying crops, irrigation systems and soil textures for each municipality and under 3 climate scenarios.

The assessment will outline:

1) The total irrigation demand for agricultural production in the Metro area.

2) How irrigation demand may differ between selected key factors including crop, irrigation system and soil properties.

3) Increases in irrigation demand that may exist between a wet and dry year.

The information is then used to assess 2 scenarios including

a) How irrigation demand may change with a transition to more efficient irrigation systems.

b) How might irrigation demand change with an expansion in the irrigated area of major crops.

 

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