IMPLEMENTING COMMUNITY CITIZEN ENGAGED BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES THROUGH ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT
(Urban BMP Project)
About the Project
The Social Science and Humanities Research Council Urban BMP project focuses on understanding and strengthening Best Management Practices or BMPs in water governance and climate change adaptations in Saskatchewan (SK) province of Canada. This project suggests that SK province is greatly affected by floods and droughts, which will be further exacerbated by increasing climate variability. The project understands that water crisis is not simply a crisis of natural conditions but also a crisis of governance. Water research to a large extent till date has largely focused on technical solutions this project elaborates on social infrastructure and relations that combined with technology has allowed communities to engage in better water governance and climate change adaptation measures. The project aims to discover and strengthen such BMPs developed by communities that are “smart” such as Big ditch drainage for crop flooding in Okabene C and D, Water Treatment Plant in City of Estevan, Source Water Protection Plan in Mitwasis etc. The project team works with various levels of stakeholders including government, watershed groups and city and water managers and communities to create forums of interaction, avenues for knowledge exchange, strategies and decisions for better water governance and climate adaptation for provincial and federal governments and provide support to communities as need be. The project uses interdisciplinary methods to understand and strengthen BMPs adopted from biology, social science, data science and policy sciences–identifying the interaction between climate change scenarios, water quality, and institutional capital and technology, employing both quantitative methods and qualitative methods to create strong adaptive institutions and resilient communities.
City of Melfort
When Husky Energy pipeline ruptured due to riverbank destabilization near Maidstone, Saskatchewan it released nearly 225 000 liters of crude oil into the North Saskatchewan River. Communities that relied on the North Saskatchewan River as their source water, including the City of Melfort, had to close their water intake systems, and find an alternative water source; however, unlike many neighbouring communities Melfort was able to navigate this challenge with little disruption in water services. The factors that contributed to Melfort’s resilience were- early recognition of the problem, City and SaskWater promoted proactive approaches by engaging individuals in water management to prepare alternative source plans, presence of knowledgeable individuals. A final factor that helped Melfort succeed was the stable climate which ensured that the reservoir was full of water, whereas, if there were years of prolonged drought the water quantity and quality would have degraded beyond the point of treatment.
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council