Hydrological analysis of municipal source water availability in Nunavut, Canada accounting for population growth, infrastructure upgrades, and climate change

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.5 Sanitation in small Arctic communities
Datetime Sep 05, 2018 03:40 PM - 03:50 PM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Jenny Hayward (Dalhousie University, Canada), Rob Jamieson (Dalhousie University, Canada), Lindsay Johnston (Dalhousie University, Canada), Amy Jackson (Dalhousie University, Canada)
Abstract text

The arctic territory of Nunavut, Canada is comprised of 25 small (< 10,000 people) communities distributed throughout an area of approximately 1,900,000 km2. Every community in Nunavut currently relies on surface water sources for potable water supply. Water is either extracted directly from a lake or river for treatment and delivery to residents, or pumped to reservoirs during the ice-free period in the short arctic summer.  Due to the remote location of many of these communities, it would be extremely challenging to respond to a scenario in which the surface water sources provided inadequate quantities of water for a community during a dry year.  In light of climate change and recent potable water shortages, this study was conducted to provide a comprehensive assessment of water availability across the territory, which accounted for climate change and population growth.  For each community, contributing watershed areas were delineated, and a water budget model was used to predict water availability using historical climate data, and projected future climate data. A water availability index (WAI) was computed for each community for both historical and future climate scenarios, accounting for population growth and varying per capita water usage rates. The communities were then ranked according to the WAI to provide guidance for prioritization of water supply upgrades. The results indicated that seven of the hamlets in Nunavut are at high risk of source water shortages. Resources should be strategically allocated to develop alternative source water supplies in these high risk communities.

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