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Learning with Local Help: Expanding the Dialogue on Climate Change and Water Management in the Okanagan Region, British Columbia, Canada

Abstract

The research activity described in this report is a comprehensive regional assessment of the impacts of climate change on water resources and options for adaptation in the Okanagan Basin. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop integrated climate change and water resource scenarios to stimulate a multistakeholder discussion on the implications of climate change for water management in the region.

The paper describes two main objectives: (a) providing a set of research products that will be of relevance to regional interests in the Okanagan, and (b) establishing a methodology for participatory integrated assessment of regional climate change impacts and adaptation that could be applied to climate-related concerns in Canada and other countries.

This collaborative study has relied on field research, computer-based models, and dialogue exercises to generate an assessment of future implications, and to learn about regional views on the prospects for adaptation. Along the way, it has benefited from strong partnerships with governments, researchers, local water practitioners, and user groups. Building on the scenario-based study components, and a series of interviews and surveys undertaken for the water management and adaptation case study components, a set of stakeholder dialogue sessions were organized which focused on identifying preferred adaptation options and processes for their implementation. Rather than seeking consensus on the “best” option or process, regional interests were asked to consider a range of available options as part of an adaptation portfolio that could address both supply side and demand side aspects of water resources management in the Okanagan.

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Correspondence to Stewart Cohen.

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Cohen, S., Neilsen, D., Smith, S. et al. Learning with Local Help: Expanding the Dialogue on Climate Change and Water Management in the Okanagan Region, British Columbia, Canada. Climatic Change 75, 331–358 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-006-6336-6

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Keywords

  • Regional Interest
  • Stakeholder Dialogue
  • Study Component
  • Dialogue Session
  • Integrate Climate Change