Bio-Physical and Socio-Economic Vulnerabilities of Selected Prairie Communities in South Saskatchewan River Basin Facing Droughts pp. 267-288
Authors: (V. Wittrock, S. Kulshreshtha, E. Wheaton, Saskatchewan Research Council, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, and others)
Abstract: Extreme climate events such as droughts generally result in bio-physical impacts that
often translate into socio-economic impacts. Realization of the severity of an extreme
event such as a drought, varies with the individual community because vulnerability is
dependent upon the sensitivity of various economic activities in the region plus the
dependability of necessary resources such as the community‘s water supply along with
the adaptive capacity of the stakeholders. This paper examines the bio-physical and
socio-economic vulnerabilities to drought and associated adaptation measures undertaken
by five rural Canadian Prairie communities in the South Saskatchewan River Basin.
Communities with adequate potable water were found to be less vulnerable than those
without such water infrastructure. Long term adaptation measures, such as improving
water supply sources, water sharing with other users, and water rationing, were also very
effective. Further research of this type is required to enhance understanding of effective
adaptation to expected future climate extremes.