The changing policy discourse for solutions to water-related hazards in the Canadian Prairies

Much of the population in the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba obtains its water from the Nelson-Churchill River Basin, the third largest watershed in North America. In policy and planning documents authored by different organizations operating within the basin, infrastructure solutions are the most discussed approach to address floods and droughts across the drainage basin. While built infrastructure approaches are most frequently referenced, natural infrastructure approaches are also mentioned and sometimes preferred, such as in the case of improving water quality. Improving coordination and organizational policies across the basin is widely discussed as a means to enhance capacity to respond effectively to water-related hazards. This involves proactive planning (e.g., coordinated strategies for drought, wetlands and drainage, and invasive species), increasing financial and human resource capacity (e.g., reliably funding water resource groups, providing technical support to communities, increasing funding opportunities), and developing operating rules and procedures to enhance resilience to cope with new extremes.

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