Assessment of the Vulnerability and Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Local Small Watersheds in British Columbia
Cecilia (Yingquan) Zhou, MLWS 2021
Watershed management has been deployed as an important approach for planning and managing water with flexible frameworks. Understanding the implication of climate change on the watershed is essential to protect each eco-aquatic system. The objective of this project is to conduct an assessment of watershed vulnerability with potential impacts on exposure and sensitivity in local watersheds in British Columbia, the Mission/Wagg Creek in North Vancouver and the Fishtrap Creek in Kamloops.
The major climate changes in both watersheds are increased annual temperature and precipitation with seasonal variabilities. For the Mission/Wagg Creek, based on the results from the semi-distributed SWMM (stormwater management model), the drainage and sewage system can handle the increased rainfall intensity and runoff simulations with a necessary partial upgrade on certain infrastructure. For Fishtrap Creek, the water quantity and quality will decrease due to climate change, especially for the years following a forest fire. The increase in temperature and decrease in seasonal precipitation will help spread the wildfires, resulting in worsening or longer fire season. Planning for Fishtrap Creek should focus on reducing the likelihood and impacts of wildfires, such as developing recovery plans. Due to the limitation of time, no quantitative analysis was conducted for the Fishtrap Creek. Overall, a great vulnerability was indicated for both watersheds, requiring more efforts and quantitative analysis on the impacts of climate change regarding watershed management in the future.