Water competition was top of mind at SACPA in Lethbridge. Regions in the Canadian prairies of southern Alberta are learning how to manage declining water resources, lower snowfall volumes, and less predictable precipitation events. Dr. Dena McMartin is an environmental and agricultural engineer and Vice-President of Research at the University of Lethbridge. She says there are challenges and constraints when it comes to maintaining water management here in southern Alberta. But there are also some interesting ways to provide clean energy and conserve water resources.
“I think one of the interesting things we’ve started to see in California irrigation systems is the use of solar panel canal covers. I think that would be a really interesting way of conserving resources by reducing evaporation rates coming out of the large canal systems. While also producing some green energy for helping offset some of the pumping costs and the carbon footprint of irrigation pumping.”
At the end of last year the International Joint Commission appointed a study board for a four year study to look at the St. Mary and Milk River systems. This includes implementing Blackfoot consultation, and doing technical work around the ecological needs of the region.