Dauphin, Canada
Several farm industry groups in the province are interested in a computer modelling project looking at Alberta's South Saskatchewan River basin, and how that project could be applied to Manitoba.
Henry Nelson - vice chair with the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association - says Aquanty's model takes into account not only surface water, but also soil moisture and ground water, and the interaction of the three over an entire river basin.
He says this allows them to get a real accurate picture of the impact of certain water events on any part of that basin.
"And so this model has to deal with a tremendous amount of data compared to many of the models out there. And they weren't really commercially used up until now, because there wasn't the computing capacity."
Besides the MFGA, Nelson says Keystone Ag Producers, Manitoba Beef, the Assiniboine River Basin Initiative and Manitoba Conservation Districts Association are all involved in this project.
Nelson believes one of the other great things about Aquanty's model is it allows them to run hypothetical data.
"From the forage and grasslands stand point, we can say what if we had 10 per cent more grassland here, what would be the impact downstream. But you can answer questions like what if we built a dam here, or a dike here, or a diversion here... what would be the impact. Without having to go to the expense of building them to find out what it would do."
Nelson says it's going to take two and a half to three years to develop the model, but they have to start somewhere.
He points out forages and grasslands are seen as an ultimate mitigation strategy in trying to solve some of the flooding issues in Manitoba.
"Something has to be happening here that we're getting a... once in three years, we're getting a 1-in-300 year event taking place. And so, really, we have to look behind into the causes of this rather than just focusing on dealing with what comes at us."
Nelson says as far as funding goes, MFGA hopes Manitoba Agriculture and Growing Forward 2 take care of the heavy lifting.

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