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Keynote speaker at the Delft-FEWS international userdays: Al Pietroniro

Dr. Alain Pietroniro, Executive Director, National Hydrological Service of Canada,   Meteorological Service of Canada

Freshwater is of great economic importance and integral to the livelihood of many Canadians. The vast ecosystem services provided by freshwater include the supply of water for domestic, agricultural and industrial use, the assimilation of waste, the provision of fish and wildlife habitat, and sustenance of indigenous communities.   In Canada, water is a shared federal-provincial/territorial responsibility and the need for collaboration and cooperation is essential for managing this valuable resource.  Canadians expect their governments to wisely manage Canada’s water resources and ensure its sustainable use, including the need to protect themselves from water-related hazards, namely floods and droughts. These concerns are being elevated as we learn more about increased extremes associated with climate change.

Environment and Climate Change Canada, as the lead federal agency for water, is pivotal to moving the federal water agenda forward and providing the leadership required. The department’s National Hydrological Service (NHS) within the Meteorological Service of Canada  is best-placed in Canada to partner with other level of government to address this array of freshwater issues including floods and drought guidance.   As part of this initiative, the first-ever National Flood Forecasting meeting took place this past February to begin dialogue between water-professionals in Canada to demonstrate the capability of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) existing Numerical Weather Predication systems(NWP) , while highlighting new and important research in the area of flood and hydrology forecasting. ECCC in partnership with important academic leaders spearheaded the meeting as part of renewed funding and efforts to the common goal of partnership with provincial and territorial partner in the development of a community of practise focused on forecasting.    

The discussion and presentation will focus on description of the current state of the Canadian flood-forecasting efforts, both regionally and national.  Details on modelling infrastructure and model development along with challenges in hydrological prediction within the Canadian context are highlighted.