The state of the watershed report is one of the two key deliverables produced by WPACs. It describes the history of the watershed, its natural and built features, the condition of the resources, and the impact of human activity on the watershed. Given that, each state of the watershed report is unique to the watershed. State of the watershed reports are expected to inform the development of Integrated Watershed Management Plans (IWMP), providing a foundation of information for developing effective management strategies to meet watershed goals.
Using the Bow River Basin Watershed as an example, risks and pressures are defined for each sub-basin within the watershed. For example, risks and pressures have been identified for the Upper Bow Sub-Basin, which are outlined below. Although changes in land-use are not as significant as in more highly populated downstream sub-basins, some human activities do impact water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Further, climate change scenarios predict increased glacial melting, extreme weather events, as well as other changes that could produce new stresses and alterations to water quantity and quality, fish, wildlife, plant life, and forests in the sub-basin. Natural disturbance and stressors have long influenced the ecosystems within the Upper Bow Sub-Basin, including flooding or naturally occurring wildfires, which help in replenishing the ecosystem and play a key role in ecosystem function and structure. However, the watershed region has been subject to a variety of unnatural stressors since the 1880s and onward. Among addressing landscape fragmentation and loss of habitat connectivity, and many other key risks and pressures, climate change impacts and extreme weather, such as flooding and drought, are recognized as key risks. While there are risks and pressures facing the water systems in this sub-basin, there are water management and storage opportunities to improve environmental conditions. These opportunities could also provide additional protection against flood and drought.