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Implementing an Agricultural Water Security Market for Southwestern Manitoba

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Implementing an Agricultural Water Security Market for Southwestern Manitoba

Water security is increasingly becoming a concern in many parts of the world. Although southwestern Manitoba is endowed with relatively sufficient water, the rising variability of the supply due to climate change and increasing water resource demands from the agricultural and oil and gas sectors may lead to regional challenges over time.

The establishment of an Agricultural Water Security Market (AWSM) for southwestern Manitoba is proposed to prevent water from becoming a limiting factor in the operations of the agricultural and oil and gas sectors. The AWSM would allow the oil and gas sector to offset the water it consumes for hydraulically drilling wells by purchasing water quantity offsets. The offsets would consist of establishing water retention sites on the landscape, which would improve regional water security by holding back water to increase supplies through groundwater recharge and access to additional surface water. A preliminary architecture for the AWSM based on key design considerations and the review of 11 water trading schemes is provided. Based on the rapid projected expansion of the oil and gas sector in southwestern Manitoba and a desire to expand water licensing fees for cost recovery, the establishment of an AWSM could be opportune and appropriate. The southwestern Manitoba AWSM would allow the oil and gas sector to flourish alongside the agricultural sector while enhancing community resilience to potential regional water stresses.

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