The team from the Ministry of Agriculture pose with the pickup truck they are driving around the Cariboo. Contributed photo

Ministry of Agriculture team is measuring water demand in the Cariboo this summer

The data will help the ministry develop agricultural water-use models

You may have noticed a light brown Ford F150 pickup truck with Ministry of Agriculture signs taped to the doors driving around the Cariboo over that last couple weeks.

Driving the pickup is a group of agrologists, who have been travelling around Electoral Area A (Red Bluff/Quesnel South), Electoral Area D (Commodore Heights/McLeese Lake) and Williams Lake since July 16.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the Partnership for Water Sustainability in B.C. have teamed up to complete an Agricultural Land Use Inventory (ALUI) and Water Demand Model for the Cariboo.

The agrologists in the truck are driving around to check if what they see in satellite imagery matches with what they see from the road. By taking inventory of the agricultural land use in the region, they can then determine how much water individual parcels of land or crops will need moving forward.

The ALUI determines the amount of actively farmed land in the region; provides researchers with a foundation they can use to monitor a past or future change in land use; and even assists in land use planning for both the local community and the Crown.

Following the agricultural inventory, the Water Demand Model helps define the potential impact of climate change on the region and identifies strategies to continue to meet water demand; allows researchers to look at water management alternatives while keeping an eye on potential future uses of the land; and provides data to inform future water storage projects.

READ MORE: North Cariboo Agricultural Development Advisory Committee elects new executive

For example, Nicole Pressey, the regional agrologist for the ministry, says, “Say today they see a bunch of fields growing alfalfa and a bunch cattle grazing. Based on what the crop is or what the animals are, they’ll say, ‘This is how much water that is needed for that parcel.’

“And the inventory will tell you how many hectares or acres are in that parcel, and then the demand model will tell you how much water that parcel will need, depending on those livestock or the crop.”

This means the researchers will be able to determine how much water the land currently requires to remain sustainable, and then allows them to calculate how much water it will need in the future, taking into consideration the potential affects of climate change and other variables.

Pressey says the ministry uses this data to inform the policies and programs they develop for water use, while also giving local governments the tools they need to create zoning bylaws, agricultural policies or other programs that support agriculture.

When the brown pickup is done in the Quesnel and Williams Lake areas, it will head down to 100 Mile House and Electoral Area L (Lone Butte/Interlakes) from August 13-31, to continue gathering data.

“It can seem a little bit dry at first,” Pressey says, “but it’s pretty exciting what the data can provide and help inform. It’ll be interesting to be able to share [the final report] when it’s ready for the public.”



heather.norman@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook

Just Posted

Summer festival success bursts through the smoke

Attendance was estimated at 3,000

100 Mile House community fundraises for ‘community-minded’ man in hospital

Will Love is recovering in Kamloops after his colon ruptured on Tuesday, July 31

Lawnmower races exceed expectations in 100 Mile House

‘I had no idea how fast some people could make a lawnmower go. I just was completely blown away.’

Some roads in Cariboo region closed due to evacuation orders

The Ministry of Transportation has provided a list of road closures in the Cariboo

83 active wildfires and 9 fires-of-note in Cariboo Fire Centre Aug. 15

Up-to-date information about wildfires, evacuation orders and alerts in the Cariboo Fire Centre.

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

Missing B.C. hiker, dog found safe after 3-day search

Cranbrook hiker had been missing since Sunday, August 12, near Jumbo Pass.

UPDATED: B.C. RCMP dismantle Kinder Morgan protest camp

RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Italy says death toll will mount in Genoa bridge collapse

Authorities worried about the stability of remaining large sections of a partially collapsed bridge evacuated about 630 people from nearby apartments.

Former CIA Director: Trump worked with Russians and now he’s desperate

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, John Brennan cites press reports and Trump’s own goading of Russia during the campaign to find Democrat Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.

Church sex scandal: Abuse victims want a full reckoning

Since the crisis exploded in Boston in 2002, dioceses around the country have dealt with similar revelations of widespread sexual abuse.

Baloney Meter: is flow of asylum seekers at Canada-U.S. border a ‘crisis’?

“I think any time you have a government that allows 30,000 people over the course of a short period of time to come into Canada illegally, the impact that that has, that is a crisis,” said Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Most Read