Participatory water management modelling in the Athabasca River Basin

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Water is often used for a variety of conflicting purposes, but as a dynamic resource, its equitable allocation across boundaries frequently poses problems for involved stakeholders. Integrated water resource management (IWRM) aims to promote coordinated water management across all boundaries using participatory modelling.

In 2016-2017, approximately 30 stakeholders representing industry, municipalities, environmental NGOs, and federal/provincial governments collaborated to explore opportunities to achieve sustainable watershed management in the ARB. Stress scenarios (including potential changes in climate, land use, and water use) were developed and used to test a series of water management strategies throughout the basin. Resulting recommendations include: identifying areas for land conservation and reclamation priority, establishing in-stream flow need targets, and reducing water navigation limitations in the lower basin.

Applying an approach similar to the ARB Initiative has proven that by working collaboratively, knowledgeable and experienced stakeholders from across a watershed can identify opportunities to optimize and sustainably manage a basin’s water supply.

Download: Participatory water management modelling in the Athabasca River Basin Report

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