June 25, 2007

Continuous monitoring project will improve water resource management

CANNING, NS-A surface water monitoring project in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley will enable the area's agricultural producers to better manage their water use. The Pereau River Project will use in-stream gauges to measure water volume continuously and generate up-to-the-minute data. Farmers will be able to use this information as a basis for decisions about how much water they can withdraw for irrigation, and how often, without threatening the sustainability of the watershed. The project is expected to demonstrate how surface water can be better managed using good data. As a spinoff benefit, the technique can be transferred to other watersheds and streams. Preliminary work began in the Pereau River watershed in 2006. For the 2007 growing season, the project is operating at full force, aided by more than $34,000 in funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and has been expanded to include the North Brook watershed. Other partners in the project include the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, the Nova Scotia departments of Environment and Labour and of Agriculture, and the Pereau Water Club, an organization representing farmers in the area. "Until now, not knowing how much water was available affected our ability to use the water sustainably," said Richard Melvin, an Annapolis Valley farmer and member of the Pereau Water Club. "The Pereau Project bridges this gap and will allow us to effectively manage the resource."

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