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Using hydrological models to support water management decisions in the South Saskatchewan River Basin

Mike Nemeth describes using hydrological models to support water management decisions. Models are not perfect; but they give water managers the opportunity to project future weather, climate changes and test decisions. Models did not predict the future; they project how water systems work. The Bow River Project used a mass-balance model (mass of water in, mass of water out). The major water license holders were at the project's table. The Bow River already is highly managed. Low flows are augmented and peak flows are reduced. Mike Nemeth describes how computer aided negotiations was done in the Bow River Project. Performance measures were tested with different runs of the hydrological model. Testing objectives, e.g. increasing low flows at different times of the year, can be tested against the model's projections of effects on other parts of the system. The Bow River Project produced significant results that all water managers agreed to unanimously. He then moves onto the South Saskatchewan River Basin Adaptation Project. Climate adaptation is the focus; with a specific focus on low flows affect river management. Risks to specific communities, irrigation districts are modelled.

**NOTE: New data has led to a change in the Shortages in Okotoks slide. For the most up-to-date information, go to the Alberta WaterPortal.

Mike Nemeth is an Environmental Specialist with WaterSMART Solutions Ltd., Calgary, Alberta. His presentation was part of the CWRA/WPAC Joint Conference, Red Deer, Alberta, March 13-14, 2013.


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