Climate Change Only:
If it is assumed that in the future only the climate changes, and everything else (including population) were to remain the same, Okanagan residents would use on average 9% more water over the 2011 – 2040 period than at present, and 18% more during the 2041 – 2070 period. Also, the growing season will be longer*.
Climate and Population Change:
If climate and population both change as expected, and all reasonably irrigable land is developed over the 2011-2040 period, annual water use would average 19% higher over that period than it is today, even if we continue to introduce water use efficiencies at the same rate we are doing today.
- If we follow the Provincial guideline of achieving 33% improvements in water use efficiency by 2020, that 19% figure drops to 12%.
In dry summers when less rain is available, the portion of a crop’s water demand that must be met from irrigation increases.
If three dry years occur in a row, the water use during these three years could be 40% – 50% higher than an average year today, depending on the agricultural land base and population at the time they occur.
* According to the models, the Okanagan will have a longer growing season – increasing water demand from crops, landscaping, and natural areas.
- Summary Report – Part Four – Scenarios (555Kb PDF)
- Appendix O Okanagan Water Demand Scenario Modeling Report (130 Kb)