International Commission on Irrigation & Drainage Commission Interationale des Irrigation et du Drainage

Webinar on Irrigation and Drainage Developments in Canada to Expand Food Production and Achieve Water Security

The Webinar on Irrigation and Drainage Developments in Canada to Expand Food Production and Achieve Water Security organized by ICID Central Office was held on 3 March 2021 at 10:00-11:30 am EST  (20:30 Hours IST) .

Intensifying water constraints threaten food security and nutrition. Thus, urgent action is needed to make water use in agriculture more sustainable and equitable. Irrigated agriculture remains by far the largest user of freshwater, but scarcity of freshwater is a growing problem owing to increasing demand and competition for freshwater resources. At the same time, rainfed agriculture is facing increasing precipitation variability driven by climate change. These trends will exacerbate disputes among water users and inequality in access to water.

Major trends in Canada include fewer but larger farms and greater demand for water supply. While non-irrigated agriculture is predominant in Canada, 80% of irrigation takes place in arid and semi-arid regions of the country. Improvements in water use efficiency have positively impacted not only agricultural outcomes but also the better management of resources and greater maintenance of the land. “Climate change and water are closely linked. Water availability is affected, with periods of scarcity and excess. Extreme weather events are expected to be more frequent. “Research, development, innovation and, technology transfer are key to increase the water use efficiency, and tackle water scarcity”.



SPEAKERS: Jennifer Nitschelm, VPH Laurie Tollefson, and PH Prof. Dr. Chandra Madramootoo
Ms. Jennifer Nitschelm is Director of the Irrigation Secretariat and of the Basin Water Management Section, Alberta Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Her team works with irrigation districts on legislative and administrative aspects, and provides technical expertise on irrigation demand modelling and infrastructure conveyance, in support of sustainable, efficient and productive irrigation in Alberta.

Dr. Laurie Tollefson held a progression of senior management positions in Agriculture and Agri food Canada. This included management of the Canada Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre, National science manager, Director of the National Water Quality and Availability management project, and Director of International Partnerships. He served on the Canadian National Committee for Irrigation and Drainage (CANCID) executive for many years. He is a Vice President Honoraire of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) and member of its executive management Board. He currently serves on the Governing Board of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

Prof. Dr. Chandra Madramootoo is James McGill Professor of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering at McGill University. He is an active member of the Canadian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (CANCID), and was elected President of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) in 2008 for a 3 year term. He is currently a member of the steering committee of the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG). He has undertaken extensive studies on irrigation and drainage across Canada, and also internationally. He is the recipient of the World Irrigation Prize in 2019.


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