Water Resources in a Climate of Change

As part of the development of the Water Budget and Water Quantity Risk Assessment guidance, AquaResource is developing documentation that will guide the assessment of water budgets, stress and risk during climate change.  Our current progress was presented at the OSPE workshop on Climate Change at the Toronto Science Centre on October 16th (www.ospeclimatechange.ca).

The current understanding of climate change is that it will affect both temperature and precipitation, which in turn will impact all aspects of the hydrologic cycle.  One point that must be recognized is that such impacts will be superimposed on the expected climatic variability, which can be readily seen in historical records of stream flow and great lakes water levels.  As discussed in the presentation, the annual impact of climate change on water supply may be most pronounced in the shallow groundwater system where prolonged periods of no recharge are expected to result in late summer / fall water level declines. 

The typical annual hydrograph for recharge will look significantly different than under current conditions and will require adjustments to our engineered systems. AquaResource continues to work with a team of experts on developing sound science that will guide Ontario's source protection studies to develop the tools and analysis to effectively manage our water supplies.