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Sustainable management of water levels and flows

Sufficient water supply is important to maintain ecosystems in proper condition. This also holds true for ensuring the continuation of various recreational, municipal and industrial activities that take place on the St. Lawrence. Water levels must also be evaluated in light of current and future changes in climate.

Projects 2016-2021

Use satellite data for flood risk management and emergency preparedness

Canadian satellite RADARSAT-2 provides radar images of Canada on a regular basis. In collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Public Safety Canada and the Quebec Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP), specialists from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique–Eau-Terre-Environnement (INRS-ETE) created a computer algorithm that transforms these raw data into useful maps that are quickly updated. This allows specialists from the MSP to monitor the ice cover, ice jams and flooding in areas where recurring problems are observed. Thanks to these maps, the MSP can efficiently plan responses on the ground and support municipalities. The department can also monitor the situation directly using the geomatics platform. These products are available to the public via the open data found on the Quebec government website.

During this new phase of the project, our experts aim to improve this technology in collaboration with the CSA and the GRIP project. They will apply data from the Chaudière River basin and the islands in the greater Montreal region to other flood-prone rivers in Quebec, refining the algorithms that allow them to assess the scope of flooding in open water in various geographical environments (urban, wooded, agricultural, etc.). They will also be able to monitor more closely the effects of winter storms on coastal erosion. In addition, they hope to create new tools to monitor other natural disasters such as forest fires. Finally, they intend to share this technology with other provinces and stakeholders in Canada.

Establish a Climate Change Coordination Committee

Climate change affects the St. Lawrence ecosystem as much as its commercial potential. In the previous phase of the SLAP, in collaboration with OuranosExternal link, a consortium on regional climatology and climate change adaptation, the preliminary committee prepared a state of knowledge report on climate change particularly in terms of how it affects the St. Lawrence.

In this new phase of the SLAP, the Climate Change Coordination Committee is established. It brings together the various actors involved, from different levels of government and civil society, to promote knowledge sharing and, ultimately, efficient responses in this area. The committee looks at the uses of the Seaway from the perspective of vulnerability to climate change and promotes knowledge sharing among key players.

Projects 2011-2016

Study the impact of climate change on water flows

This project seeks to characterize changes in water flows in the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence system based on climate change scenarios developed for various spatial and temporal levels.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Integrate Earth observation technologies into emergency preparedness activites relating to water levels

The goal of this project is to achieve more effective response planning and management of problems (e.g., ice jams, ice break-up, flooding, etc.) relating to ice formation on rivers in selected hydrological regions in Quebec. Monitoring indicators will be designed in this regard to support the prediction of hydrological natural disasters in the Chaudière River and Montréal archipelago through the processing of images collected using the RADARSAT-2 satellite.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Establish a climate changes coordination committee

Coordinated by Ouranos, this committee will have the mandate to identify the main issues as well as needs in research and development related to the impacts of climate changes, ecosystems and uses vulnerabilities, and adaptation tools and options.

Read the backgrounder for this project.