New simulation models designed to predict the effects of overland flooding and drought could pave the way to new and better insurance coverage for agricultural producers. On March 17, Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin Blaine Calkins, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced $1.3 million in federal support to the Alberta Federation of Agriculture to develop the new model.

This initiative aims to develop robust simulation hydrologic models and maps that can assess overland flooding, drought, and soil saturation issues to be used to predict the likelihood and impact of future water patterns. Data collected could contribute to better flood risk analysis and could eventually lead to the development of overland flooding insurance products.

“Overland flooding and soil moisture issues have touched a large number of Prairie farmers in recent years, adding a level of unpredictability and risk that makes planning difficult,” Calkins said. “Gaining a better understanding of flood risk, soil saturation levels, and drought events through modelling could aid in creating new insurance products for agricultural producers.”

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