Climate change impacts on Canada’s water resources are expected to be significant. Direct impacts of changes in precipitation and air temperature include earlier peak flows, greater flood risk, and more extreme droughts. Related impacts on climate, terrestrial and freshwater environments will also affect nutrient cycling, stream temperatures, the distribution, concentration, and timing of contaminants, and the transport and concentrations of sediments in watercourses.
Different watersheds and their communities vary in how susceptible they are to climate change impacts, as well as how well they can cope with and adapt to changes. This is known as vulnerability. A community can choose to do a vulnerability assessment to determine areas where their watersheds are most susceptible to climate impacts, as well as find the strengths and weaknesses in terms of their land use planning, emergency response, engineering standards, or community resilience.
To help planners, hydrologists, and communities with this task, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment has released a new report about how to assess the vulnerability of watersheds to climate change. Read the full report here: http://www.ccme.ca/assets/pdf/pn_1494_vat.pdf