Concerns regarding future water supply and impacts of climate change on agricultural water sources for Delta’s greenhouse sector were initially identified in the Delta Adaptation Strategies planning process in 2013-2014 and reconfirmed in the Delta Adaptation Strategies Update project in 2018.
In 2020, a study was completed to assess the capacity of the surface water supply system (including Fraser River irrigation and drainage canals, private surface water licenses, and the existing potable water supply) to meet Delta’s agricultural demands. The assessment included both current conditions and future modelled scenarios of increased agricultural production and hotter and drier summers. The study found that the existing surface water supply system could meet agricultural demands under the current climate and production levels but will fall short of meeting future water demands or supporting significant expansion of the industry without substantial upgrades. Recommendations included refining the demand assessment for the greenhouse industry specifically, which relies mainly on potable water for irrigation, as well as further investigation of alternative water supply options that might be suitable for the greenhouse sector.
This project follows through on those recommendations by providing a more detailed picture of the Delta greenhouse sector’s water demand and exploring how disruptions to water supply (either due to climate change or other types of impacts) could be minimized.