Reservoir Management for Sustainable Irrigation in Alberta

  • Gestion des réservoirs pour le développement durable de l’irrigation en Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Jean, Marie-Ève
  • Sustainable reservoir management is essential to ensure the productivity of agriculture and to adapt to a changing climate. This research firstly analyzes reservoir managers’ perspectives in Alberta’s heavily-allocated South Saskatchewan River Basin by applying a qualitative survey methodology in order to improve understanding of the behaviour of reservoir operators under various climatic and hydrological conditions. The data collected through interviews with water managers suggest that the current approach to reservoir operation in Alberta is oriented toward basin-scale cooperation, day-by-day release strategies, and early-season water rationing. Furthermore, the research evaluates the possible impact on the water supply available in the Bow River Basin of alternative reservoir management strategies applied in the Bow River Irrigation District through the use of the Water Resources Management Model (WRMM) of the Government of Alberta. In particular, modified reservoir operations may permit the district to lower its total water deficit in dry years compared to the original version of the WRMM. However, the values of risk measures for water deficits, the water available for other irrigation districts, the Master Apportionment Agreement with Saskatchewan and the diversion rate from the Bow River are only marginally affected. Finally, bounding scenarios of low and high irrigation demands for the three irrigation districts of the Bow River Basin (the WID, BRID and EID) and the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District (LNID) of the Oldman River Basin were produced using the Government of Alberta’s Irrigation Demand Model for a planning horizon extending to the year 2040. The water-use scenarios were applied to the WRMM to permit quantification of the water supply limits under dry to wet conditions from the historical period-of-record. There are no foreseen risks associated with the reference water-use and the low water-use scenarios for any of the four irrigation districts. However, the high water-use scenario is not sustainable for both the LNID and the WID in terms of risk measures based on water deficits and adherence to the Master Apportionment Agreement.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.