Canadia Water Agency National Webinar

International Opportunities and Responsibilities for the Canada Water Agency

March 8, 2021

You are invited to GWF’s next in the national virtual engagement series on how the Canada Water Agency can deliver water security for Canadians. International Opportunities and Responsibilities for the Canada Water Agency is a 90-minute national webinar that will include perspectives from GWF water and climate scientists, the private sector, and international experts.

The webinar will feature Dr. Shamila Nair-Bedoulle, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO, on how Canada can strengthen its role at the UN. Tom Axworthy will lead a panel of guests who will discuss how a modern and leading Canada Water Agency can support Canadian business growth overseas and provide opportunities to meet international development responsibilities.

For more information and to register, go to:



New Article – Saskatchewan Wetlands

Peiris: Saskatchewan wetlands at critical point, protection policy needed

Sarath Peiris
The Star Phoenix
February 18, 2021

It’s astounding that Saskatchewan still doesn’t have a comprehensive policy to manage and preserve its wetlands, which have been steadily drained since the early 1900s to accommodate agriculture. More than 50 per cent of these invaluable sites have now disappeared while the rest are under threat.

With half of Canada’s arable land, Saskatchewan should be the leader in acting to preserve wetlands that provide a wide array of environmental services such as serving as wildlife habitats and carbon sinks, producing pollinators, recharging aquifers, purifying water, retaining nutrients, mitigating flooding, contributing to soil health, and providing water security in a drought-prone province.

Read the full article here.

New Journal Publication – Mountain Snowpack Prediction

Multi-scale snowdrift-permitting modelling of mountain snowpack

Vincent Vionnet, Christopher B. Marsh, Brian Menounos, Simon Gascoin, Nicholas E. Wayand, Joseph Shea, Kriti Mukherjee, and John W. Pomeroy

The Cryosphere,  Volume 15, Issue 2
February 17, 2021

The interaction of mountain terrain with meteorological processes causes substantial temporal and spatial variability in snow accumulation and ablation. Processes impacted by complex terrain include large-scale orographic enhancement of snowfall, small-scale processes such as gravitational and wind-induced transport of snow, and variability in the radiative balance such as through terrain shadowing. In this study, a multi-scale modelling approach is proposed to simulate the temporal and spatial evolution of high-mountain snowpacks. The multi-scale approach combines atmospheric data from a numerical weather prediction system at the kilometre scale with process-based downscaling techniques to drive the Canadian Hydrological Model (CHM) at spatial resolutions allowing for explicit snow redistribution modelling. CHM permits a variable spatial resolution by using the efficient terrain representation by unstructured triangular meshes. The model simulates processes such as radiation shadowing and irradiance to slopes, blowing-snow transport (saltation and suspension) and sublimation, avalanching, forest canopy interception and sublimation, and snowpack melt. Short-term, kilometre-scale atmospheric forecasts from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Global Environmental Multiscale Model through its High Resolution Deterministic Prediction System (HRDPS) drive CHM and are downscaled to the unstructured mesh scale. In particular, a new wind-downscaling strategy uses pre-computed wind fields from a mass-conserving wind model at 50 m resolution to perturb the mesoscale HRDPS wind and to account for the influence of topographic features on wind direction and speed. HRDPS-CHM was applied to simulate snow conditions down to 50 m resolution during winter 2017/2018 in a domain around the Kananaskis Valley (∼1000 km2) in the Canadian Rockies. Simulations were evaluated using high-resolution airborne light detection and ranging (lidar) snow depth data and snow persistence indexes derived from remotely sensed imagery. Results included model falsifications and showed that both wind-induced and gravitational snow redistribution need to be simulated to capture the snowpack variability and the evolution of snow depth and persistence with elevation across the region. Accumulation of windblown snow on leeward slopes and associated snow cover persistence were underestimated in a CHM simulation driven by wind fields that did not capture lee-side flow recirculation and associated wind speed decreases. A terrain-based metric helped to identify these lee-side areas and improved the wind field and the associated snow redistribution. An overestimation of snow redistribution from windward to leeward slopes and subsequent avalanching was still found. The results of this study highlight the need for further improvements of snowdrift-permitting models for large-scale applications, in particular the representation of subgrid topographic effects on snow transport.

Read the full article here.


New Water Towers Article in Chemistry and Industry Magazine

Water Towers Threatened

Anthony King
C&I Issue 12, 2020

“The earliest agricultural civilisations in the Middle East were built around managing mountain water supplies, holding back water to irrigate lowland areas. Mountain water is still critical in many regions. But it is increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change.”

Read the C&I Article here:

New Article – Alberta Coal Policy

Saskatchewan environmental groups welcome reinstatement of Alberta coal policy

Ryan Kessler, Global News
February 9, 2021

The Alberta government’s pledge to reinstate a ban on open-pit coal mining in a large section of the Rocky Mountains and foothills has alleviated some concern among Saskatchewan environmental groups.

The South Saskatchewan River receives 80 to 90 per cent of its water from runoff in the Rockies, according to Bob Halliday, board chair of Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin.

“When you turn on a tap in Saskatoon, you’re actually drinking mountain water,” said Halliday, who is also a water resources consulting engineer.

On Monday, Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said the province would reinstate the 1976 coal policy that was revoked last spring…..


Read the full article along with Dr. John Pomeroy’s comments here.

New CBC interview- Effects of coal mining on water quality

What effect could coal mining in Alberta have on water quality of Saskatchewan’s rivers?
Blue Sky with Garth Materie
February 4, 2021

A controversy is raging in Alberta over plans to allow open-pit coal mines on the eastern slopes of the Rockies. This could have an effect in Saskatchewan. Many of the rivers near the proposed mines eventually run into the Saskatchewan river system. This project has seen opposition from a wide range of groups including Indigenous communities and rancher/musician Corb Lund.


We spoke with Ian Urquhart, the Conservation Director for the Alberta Wilderness Association. We were also joined by John Pomeroy, the director of the Global Water Futures Project at the University of Saskatchewan and we heard from Garry Carriere, President of the Cumberland House Fisheries.

Listen to the episode at:

Read the corresponding CBC article:‘An abomination’: Sask. water expert warns of contamination following Alberta’s coal policy changes, by Mickey Djuric, CBC News, February 5, 2021



Centre Hydrologist Dr. John Pomeroy featured on The Weather Network

Snow laughing matter: Why you should never eat snow
Rachel Schoutsen
The Weather Network
February 1, 2021

Have you ever taken a bite out of winter? Eating snow may look harmless, however there could be thousands of elements in a single bite of snow. Auto emissions, bacteria, sea salts and nitrate are just the start!


Watch the interview at: