In the early 1980s, Regina was struggling to meet demand with its existing water supply system. Per capita water usage was increasing annually, and if unchecked, the city would have had to undertake costly infrastructure upgrades to increase potable water and wastewater supply capacity. In response the city implemented a Water Conservation Program in 1985. More recently though, increases in water scarcity and drought from climate change is posing serious risks. These impacts will be particularly significant for Regina because much of its water supply comes from the South Saskatchewan River. For this river, rising demand for water by industrial, agricultural and community users in southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan will need to be reconciled with projected decreases in mean annual flows due to climate variability and change.
Since 1985, Regina has incrementally developed its Water Conservation Program which has enhanced the city’s climate resilience to increases in water scarcity and drought presented by climate change. Regina, Saskatchewan, is a city of 200 000 situated in the southern prairies, the driest region of Canada. Climate impacts will be particularly significant for Regina because the city has little local access to water. Rising demand for water by industrial, agricultural and community users in Alberta and Saskatchewan will need to consider projected decreases in mean annual flows due to climate variability and change. The Water Conservation Program implemented a series of actions, such as financial incentives and water meter replacements that improved water management. Also, the development of a watershed plan included many proposed adaptation actions, such as considering climate change an integral part of source water protection decisions. In total, the plan included 82 initiatives within 10 broad categories.