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Water Research Priorities in BC - Natalya Melnychuk, BC Ministry of Agriculture

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Water Research Priorities in BC - Natalya Melnychuk, BC Ministry of Agriculture

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An introduction to research priorities related to water management in the BC agriculture sector necessary to support agricultural adaptation. Includes priorities identified through Climate Action Initiative regional planning processes.

An introduction to research priorities related to water management in the BC agriculture sector necessary to support agricultural adaptation. Includes priorities identified through Climate Action Initiative regional planning processes.

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Water Research Priorities in BC - Natalya Melnychuk, BC Ministry of Agriculture

  1. 1. Water Research Priorities in BC Dr. Natalya Melnychuk Science Policy Fellow BC Ministry of Agriculture ACARN 2019 Kelowna, BC
  2. 2. Objectives • To identify water-related research priorities from the CAI strategies and projects • To share themes with ACARN to help strengthen the way the BC agricultural research community thinks about and connects to BC water concerns
  3. 3. 2012 BC Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation Risk & Opportunity Assessment 2013 - 2020 Regional Adaptation Strategies 2018 - 2023 Climate Adaptation Program Regional Adaptation Strategies Implementation Projects Farm Adaptation Innovator Program Vancouver Island 2021
  4. 4. • Using water wisely to grow crops • Improving irrigation management • Managing land sustainably • Livestock management • Flood and drought adaptation The optimistic future depends on whether agriculture is able to manage and consume water in a sustainable way. ~Iglesias &Garrote, 2015
  5. 5. Example Water-focused Projects Region Project Peace Evaluation of Irrigation Potential in the BC Peace Region Okanagan Integrated Farm Water Management Planning Pilot Project Cowichan Water Storage Knowledge Transfer Resources Cariboo Agricultural Dams Knowledge Transfer Resource Delta Flooding Preparedness and Mitigation Pilot Project Fraser Valley Climate Adaptive Drainage Management Forum 51Water Related CAI Regional Projects
  6. 6. Example Farm Adaption Innovator Projects Optimization of Water Use in Vineyards in the Okanagan Using Precision Irrigation Improving On-Farm Drainage Management to Reduce the Impacts of Climate Change in Delta, BC Expanding Cherry Production in BC Under Climate Change Climate Change Impact Risk Assessment Tool for Ponds used as Livestock Water Sources Keyline Water Management: Field Research & Education in the Capital Region Strategies to Improve Forage Yield & Quality While Adapting to Climate Change 38 Water Related CAI FAIP Projects
  7. 7. Farm-level Concerns • Irrigation (alternatives, improvements, multi-use possibilities) • Demand reduction • Crop and soil water retention • Mitigating flood/run-off/erosion risks • Assessing drainage technologies and management options • Cost-sharing for dam safety regulatory compliance • Securing water storage
  8. 8. Regional Concerns • Hydraulic modeling and monitoring • Approaches to flood preparedness, response, recovery • Infrastructure, technology, land investment and crop selection • Identification and feasibility of climate resilient storage options • Partnership strategies • Mapping water resources and interactions • Water budgeting considering climate impact for agriculture • Other sector impacts
  9. 9. Provincial Concerns
  10. 10. Agricultural Water Research Hydrology/hydrogeology Policy Development/Implementation Economics Extension Information Environmental Stewardship Watershed Management Agroecology Soil Science Soil Science Land use planning Resource Management Plant Science

Editor's Notes

  • Mitacs background – 1 year fellowship – on research and helping policy advancement of various water related topic with the Climate Adaptation Team
    Initial project: Goal – to thematically understand work of the CAI which is the delivery partner of CAT
    Aim in the next 9 minutes is to share this review with you in a way that will aim to help thinking around ways our research interconnects with each other and with the end user
  • Fortunately in BC to help us understand the research needs of the end user in terms of climate adaptation we have federal and provincial funding for the BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative.

    Farm-level, Regional, and provincial level programming
    At the regional level - RAS – a community-research based approach – 8 soon to be 9 regional strategies in different parts of the province that have helped identify producer needs to respond to climate change and through project are working to address the identified needs
    At the farm level – FAIP

    The output of this work provides the research community with insight and connection to the end users perspective to build transdisciplinarity
  • Not surprisingly – many of the identified needs relate in some form to water

    In these projects and the RAS– multiple water research priorities

    Not all RAS priorities addressed yet and additional research insights emerge from the projects – many topics – going to highlight major concerns at these varying levels

    About how the sector is managing their water but also how responding
  • 51% of the regional projects completed todate include some focus on responding to or managing water issues

    For example,
    In the Delta – increased risk of coastal flooding in the Fraser Delta puts agricultural land at risk of both salt water inundation and freshet flooding. Identifies risks and priorities in consultation with producers and experts and develops a draft manual for individualized flooding preparedness and mitigation planning and then pilots and evaluates for transferability it with 5 producers
  • On the FAIP side:
    Example working with the BC grape growers association and BC wine grape council – CAI
    - Project undertook detailed soil property analysis mapping differences across five vineyards and then installing irrigation to deliver precise and timed delivery of water and nutrients based on varying soil characteristics within each vineyard
    Project demonstrating how to reduce the amount of water used in a vineyard by enhancing the application and delivery of irrigated water controlling amount delivered according to soil/plant requirements
  • Farm Level – about how farmers manage their water
    Water use – efficiency – topic most prevalent in the interior – (e.g., the Peace region, which is increasingly exploring the transition from dryland to irrigation)
    Focus tied to irrigation, demand reduction and crop/and soil water retention
    Examples of specific topics range from investigating the adoption of management-intensive grazing that reduces water requirements to identifying the costs and impacts of overwatering (nutrient leaching and increased susceptibility to disease) in the Kootenay and Boundary region
    Drainage –research questions are largely about ways to improve assessing existing and alternative processes to manage runoff and drainage challenges – involves inventorying, evaluating options, applied testing  Research largely applied hydrogeological, and agronomic
    Dams- largely the Cariboo region – research that ties foremost to policy and economic analysis concern with ways to comply with regulations – such as identifying the feasibility of cost-share mechanisms

  • turn to how the sector responds to the impacts of climate change in terms of too much or too little water and then how it can be stored in response

    Overarching are emergency readiness concerns (How to utilize emergency water use plans for shared use; How to establish and implement drought risk strategies; inundation planning and coverage evaluation)

    -Flooding – largely Fraser Valley and Delta concerns, but also Bulkley/Nechako, Kootenays and Cariboo

    - Topics range from inventorying which lands are vulnerable, what crop varieties are water-tolerant and how to adapt selection and other on farm mitigation measures

    - For the Delta concerns about mitigating salination and the movement of the salt wedge

    Turning to scarcity – concerns with availability and storage  more prevalent as issues on Vancouver Island, the Cariboo, Kootenay Boundary, and bulkley-Nechako (however also a becoming a lower mainland issues too)
    Where water storage is needed and suitable – how to make it cost effective, co-beneficial and climate appropriate
    Includes understanding availability or supply– mapping resources (surface and groundwater and interactions) and other sector pressure
  • Finally, Provincial level
    Broad concerns that have apply across the province at any point in time
    Management – increasing data at a provincial level of climate impacts
    Policy and planning – understanding implications for various regulatory processes – such as ground water licensing or complying to changed dame safety regulation
    Planning that considers integrates concerns
  • CAI works is a lens into the collective agriculture community’s needs on climate change adaptation opportunities for grounding and relating research to the issues that are being expressed by the end-user
    Issues transcend one discipline – social and natural science using qualitative and quantitative methods in an applied way to understand human behaviours, policy and values as well as an understanding of the ecological and technical environment
    We know climate change is a multidimensional issue that requires work
    Likewise, Water is a connecting theme Water use and the impact of water-related crises are at the core of any discussion of agricultural sustainability and food security
    Water issues – cut across scales and across research areas connecting our research.
    an opportunity for story telling - addressing practical challenges that require all of our expertise Pitch for my next workshop– an opportunity to work on weaving our research areas together around the intersecting topic of water.

  • Not sure if I will include.
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