Saskatchewan can expect the current swing between flooding and drought conditions to continue or even worsen due to climate change, according to a professor at the University of Regina.
Dave Sauchyn, a professor in the university’s geography and environmental studies department, spoke about the province’s water variations at the annual conference for the Assiniboine River Basin Initiative on Wednesday.
“We’ve always dealt with these swings, but the swings seem to be getting larger as a result of warming up the world,” he said.
Conference attendees were discussing how water management decisions in the basin, which includes parts of Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Manitoba, can affect those down the line.
Saskatchewan’s waterways flow into North Dakota and Manitoba.
Sauchyn said Saskatchewan already has one of the more variable climates on Earth, on par with Siberia.
“Global warming is actually exaggerating or amplifying that variability,” he said.
That increased fluctuation means there will be some much drier years and some much wetter years.
Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan, who was at the conference, said the government knows that a change in climate is affecting the basin and is projecting what that means for the availability of water in the future.
In the past, Manitoba has blamed Saskatchewan’s agricultural and wetland drainage for some of its flooding.
“We work with a number of jurisdictions when it comes to different water management issues, to ensure that the decisions that we’re making as a province doesn’t have a negative impact on others in the basin,” Duncan said.
Duncan said discussions are being held about building climate-resilient infrastructure — that which is able to…