Understanding and Assessing Impacts
This report employed extensive modelling to gain a comprehensive understanding of the flood and drought characteristics of the SSRB. Modelling was conducted primarily by HydroLogics Incorporated and was undertaken firstly at the sub-basin scale before being applied to the entire SSRB. The proprietary software called OASIS (Operational Analysis and Simulation of Integrated Systems) utilized historical data spanning 81 years while also incorporating future demand predictions and climate change forecasting. Ultimately, millions of simulated hours of river basin dynamics data was created which provided insight as to the function of the system under various scenarios. The basin-wide model – The South Saskatchewan River Operational Model (SSROM) – allowed for a broad understanding of the system, however, stakeholders raised a number of concerns regarding modelling at this ‘screening level’ phase. Among these criticisms were that models were not yet detailed enough to meaningfully address factors such as engineering and economic considerations, environmental factors or risk assessments. Further, variation in the performance measures used for each sub-basin operational model could add difficulty to comparability should the SSROM be insufficient. The report anticipates an increase in future water demand which could exacerbate drought concerns. Data also shows that future flooding and drought events could be more severe than at present.