Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has announced funding for a Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation project under their Climate Change Adaptation Program. Our Faculty is proud to be represented by Professor Derek Robinson, from the Department of Geography and Environmental Management's, who is a co-applicant on the grant.
The project, titled "Agricultural Water Management and Climate Adaptation in Ontario's Greenbelt", examines water use dynamics in Ontario's Greenbelt to better understand use trade-offs during periods of water shortage. Specifically, the team is seeking to understand the role agricultural adaptation practices can play in reducing the impact of water shortages on other sectors. The overarching outcome of the project will determine the degree to which agricultural adaptation can reduce the costs of long-term water servicing infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population.
A key component of the project is its collaborative approach, bringing together a non-governmental organization (Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation), industry (Green Analytics), and academia (University of Waterloo). External advisors from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Credit Valley Conservation, are also included to assess potential changes in water resource use across the Greenbelt Region under changing climate and land management conditions.
The context is personally stimulating because we are combining crop modelling with a modelling approach that can represent on-farm decision-making, to estimate the impacts and changes in climate and land management activities, says Robinson. By collaborating with Green Analytics, we are able to estimate what the economic costs and benefits are of different climate adaptation options.
This grant is integral to the Foundation's work, as farmers in the Greenbelt face the risk of increasing climate change related droughts and flooding. NRCan's support will allow Robinson and the rest of the team to identify scenarios that might lead to flooding or droughts. Most importantly, the results will highlight ways farm operators may be able to reduce these climate-related risks as cost-effectively as possible. Managing water supply is essential to ensure farming continues to be viable in the Greenbelt, and that residents have continued access to clean water.