‘Saskatchewan needs to prepare for climate change,’ climate expert says

A water drops from a tap at a private warehouse of wheat and rice in Makhu, in the Indian state of Punjab, Friday, March 12, 2021. The UN is urging bold Water Action Agenda that gives our world's lifeblood the commitment it deserves.". AP Photo/Manish Swarup

A climate change expert at the University of Saskatchewan is warning that Saskatchewan needs to prepare for the effects of climate change to affect the province, in reaction to the climate change report from the United Nations earlier this week.

Dr. John Pomeroy, PhD, is the director of the University of Saskatchewan’s Centre for Hydrology. He is an expert on climate change and how it affects water. Pomeroy warned that climate change is already impacting Saskatchewan.

Pomeroy explained that spring snow melt comes three weeks earlier compared to 80 years ago. The amount of precipitation as snowfall, historically, was at 30 per cent, but now it is down to about 20 per cent.

Saskatchewan is experiencing 50 per cent more intense multi-day rainstorms during the summer and the South Saskatchewan River is flowing 12 percent lower than the beginning of the 20th century.

Story continues below advertisement

“There is a worldwide effort and Saskatchewan needs to pull its weight as we always have in large global issues. We need to treat this as a world war. We need to make sure we are prepared for it by improving our flood and drought forecasting, looking at irrigation expansion wherever it makes sense and think about using new crops that have improved water efficiency,” Pomeroy said.

Even though the forecast looks grim, Pomeroy is still optimistic about the future.

“The Saskatchewan government is doing things, but we need to accelerate our plans. The province won’t be the complete disaster some other areas in the world like island nations and coastal cities will be,” Pomeroy said.

“However, we will still have more intense droughts and more intense floods. We will have to develop new water management techniques and improve our flood and drought forecasting.”

Pomeroy is currently attending the UN Water Conference in New York, the largest conference of its kind in 47 years. He spoke Wednesday on glacier preservation and will speak Friday during a panel on science-based global water assessment.

“We are all hopeful that the UN report and this conference will draw attention to the matter and force some decisions from governments around the world,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Breaking down UN report on climate change'
Breaking down UN report on climate change

Sponsored content