Research Visit to GIWS at the University of Saskatchewan

I visited the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS) at the University of Saskatchewan with funding from a Dobbin Scholarship award (mid May – June 2014). The project title for the research was, “Investigating contaminant pathways in our river basins – can models inform water resources management and policy?”, and was supported by Professor Howard Wheater.

The GIWS team have very strong expertise in the areas of data analysis and the development of modelling tools. By the second week of the visit, after several lunch-time and coffee-break discussions, a collaborative study was formulated to combine the climate and rainfall modelling expertise at the GIWS with hydrological modelling of Irish catchments. We decided to focus on how different sources of uncertainty (i.e. input and parameters) would manifest in various hydrological pathways of several catchment models. Understanding the sensitive pathways and processes in hydrological models is useful for interpreting simulation results. This is vital for successfully transferring knowledge gained from hydrological modelling into meaningful information to support water quality management and policy.

Aerial view of the wetlands and prairie landscape in the St. Denis National Wildlife Area, SK (photo: Mark Bidwell. From http://www.ccrnetwork.ca/science-programme/research-sites/prairie/st.-denis.php)

Aerial view of the wetlands and prairie landscape in the St. Denis National Wildlife Area, SK (photo: Mark Bidwell. From http://www.ccrnetwork.ca/science-programme/research-sites/prairie/st.-denis.php)

A field trip to a local study catchment, St. Denis National Wildlife Area, provided the opportunity to observe the unique prairie pothole landscape and learn about the wide-ranging field investigations being undertaken by members of GIWS. Through the Dobbin Scholarship, the Ireland Canada University Foundation provided me with a great opportunity to initiate new collaborations with top researchers in water resources. I am particularly grateful to Prof. Wheater, José-Luis Guerrero and Kwok Pan Chun for introducing me to the GIWS team and providing the kick-start to a very productive research visit.