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Global Environmental Change Group

Drylands

Water is fundamentally important for livelihoods and economies, especially in dryland regions that rely on agriculture and other water-dependant activities. Inhabitants of dryland areas are often challenged by the demands of existing climate variability, and it can be expected that climate change will have further implications for management of water resources in these regions.

The goal of our drylands research is to develop a systematic and comprehensive understanding of the vulnerabilities of dryland communities to changing conditions, particularly those related to climate and water, and to identify the capacities of communities and institutions to formulate and implement strategies of adaptation to climate change. In our case studies in the Elqui River Basin, Chile and the South Saskatchewan River Basin, Alberta, we explicitly focus on vulnerabilities related to changing water resources and on the institutional arrangements for the management of risks associated with climatic variability and change. Both river basins have a dry climate, with agricultural economies dependent on snowmelt water for irrigation. Already affected by drought and variability, these areas are likely to be similarly affected by climate change.

These case studies are undertaken as part of the Institutional Adaptation to Climate Change (IACC) project, a Major Collaborative Research Initiative funded by SSHRC. Directed by Dr. Harry Diaz (University of Regina), the collaborative research team consists of 14 researchers from 5 Canadian universities and 2 Chilean universities.

As part this project our team has worked closely with colleagues from the Universidad de La Serena, Universidad de Chile, the Saskatchewan Research Council, the University of Regina, and Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration.

Please visit our Study Sites section to read about drylands research undertaken by our core team.