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Water Today Title July 7, 2022

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Update 2017/11/15
Watershed Monitoring


This story is brought to you in part by Lawson Mills Biomass Solutions Ltd

By Cori Marshall

Stakeholders in water management and monitoring in the Columbia River Basin will gather for two days to discuss and map out best practices to monitor the watershed. Cracking the Code (in 3D) Data will be held November 29 and 30, and participants will be invited to "join the dialogue that will envision creating a Water Monitoring Framework for Source Water Protection and a shared, Open Source Water Data Hub for the Columbia Basin."

The conference being held in Invermere, British Columbia, will take place under two umbrella themes "Charting the Waters" and "Diving In".

Day one, or Charting the Waters, will a more generalized look at collaborative water monitoring, how data is shared and holistic best practices. Day two will take a more in-depth look at the issues surrounding water monitoring, First Nations as well as non First Nation approaches, and collaborative monitoring.

We spoke with Kat Hartwig, Executive Director of Living Lakes Canada, an organization that along with Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Basin Watershed Network, and Selkirk College convened the event.

Hartwig said that the "conference is about having a dialogue to discuss the impacts that climate change will have on the quantity and quality of water in the Columbia Basin and where the current important water data gaps are that will need to be resolved in order to help all levels of government make informed water management decisions."

She explained that "the dialogue will also explore the potential of an open source data hub to house water data in an open freely accessible way and we will examine best practices from other parts of Canada and the USA who have done this."

    "The idea is that we examine the opportunity to change paradigms on how we can work more collaboratively on data collection and data sharing in this new era of climate-driven hydrological non-stationarity."

    Kat Hartwig, Executive Director, Living Lakes Canada

Hartwig is hopeful that "participants will walk away with having learned something from each other and have an understanding of the complexity of what water management and source water protection and maintaining water-based ecosystems will look like with climate impacts." She added that participants "will have an understanding of the possibilities and the limitations of having an open source water data hub."

Participants will have a wide range of professional backgrounds, for the most part, they will be "water practitioners who are engaged in collecting water data and in community engagement," Hartwig said. They will come from the water science, data collection and organization, government, and importantly from the "mining, forestry, and agricultural sectors."

A Columbia Basin Trust report released in January of this year stated that "the condition of the Basinís water resources is influenced by current and historic human activities and the growing impacts of climate change."

Further "there is a growing need for consistent, timely and reliable information about water quantity and quality to support responsive and sustainable stewardship of water resources, land-use planning, water-use planning, and effective natural hazard detection and response."

Temperature, precipitation, and moisture change coupled with a decline in snow make water monitoring all the more important. The report went on to say that "water monitoring can provide valuable data to inform scientific understanding and stewardship of water resources."

Climate change will impact the quantity and quality of the water in the Columbia Basin. Stakeholders in the area are taking a proactive step to developing the best system possible to monitor and maintain their water resources. This local approach is inspired by similar efforts in North America, and may well inspire other groups in their areas to develop a water data sharing network.

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