Rés-Alliance: a Community of Practice on Adaptation to Hydroclimatic Change

The project made municipalities and MRCs more aware of the impacts of certain land use planning and water management decisions. Each participating community has increased its autonomy in dealing with the impacts of the issues to which they are exposed.

Project details
Scientific program
2014-2019 programming
Theme(s) and priority(s)
Water Management
Start and duration
December 2016 • December 2019
Project Status
Principal(s) investigator(s)
Marc-André Demers
Antoine Verville


Québec’s watershed organizations (Organismes de bassins versants, OBV) have been concerned with adaptation to hydroclimatic change and building resilience since 2009.

They provide support and guidance to communities in relation to these issues. The Québec network of watershed organizations (ROBVQ) co-directed a research alliance into community challenges in the face of climate change (CCC-CURA) and coordinated the development of a toolkit for the integration of climate variability in water master plans.

Building on this experience, the ROBVQ now coordinates Rés-Alliance, a community of practice on adaptation to hydroclimatic change that brings together OBVs, communities and a number of scientific and technical partners.


  • Support member communities in their planning process and in the implementation of concrete solutions to hydroclimatic risk;

  • Contribute to the development of best practices in adaptation to hydroclimatic change;

  • Ensure the convergence and transfer of scientific research and practical experience;

  • Strengthen the supporting role played by OBVs with municipalities and local authorities.


  • Create a core group of eight “lead” communities following a similar adaptation process, with the support of their OBV;

  • Develop tools for the OBV involved through training, shared experience and knowledge transfer;

  • Make the tools developed and the knowledge acquired by the core group available to all member communities;

  • Collaborate with scientific and technical partners in order to centralize knowledge and tools for adaptation.


Small and medium-sized municipalities were the target audience for the community of practice. A total of 31 municipalities (local and regional) in 12 different administrative regions as well as 2 Indigenous organizations and 1 Indigenous community embarked on the project.

The 8 lead communities, with the support of their OBVs, carried out identical processes that included a portrait of their territory with regard to the issue facing them, an analysis including an assessment of their current and future vulnerabilities, and an adaptation plan addressing the issues in their territory.

This process served as an example for other municipal organizations that joined the community of practice. The two main issues targeted by communities in the Rés-Alliance were flooding and the protection of drinking water sources.

Image 1

Image 1. A rain garden created by the Matapédia-Restigouche community

To support communities in their adaptation process, the ROBVQ developed a number of tools and materials for social network analysis, monitoring the expectations and commitments of community members, and knowledge transfer. These include eight interviews with elected officials who are dealing with the issue of climate change adaptation, five case study videos, five “Behind the Scenes” videos produced in conjunction with the February 2017 conference on flood management, three “Coffee with an Expert” talks, five Rés-Alliance podcasts and nine newsletters. All of these tools were published on a project-dedicated website.

This website also describes the achievements of the eight lead communities. An example is the Matapédia-Restigouche watershed community, which includes Sayabec, Val-Brillant, Amqui, Lac-au-Saumon, Causapscal, Ste-Florence and Matapédia, and two salmon-related organizations. These seven riverside municipalities are confronted with an influx of sediment from their populated areas, putting at risk the integrity of the salmon habitat, an economic resource and essential asset for the watershed.

With the help and guidance of OBV MatapédiaRestigouche, they have co-created tools to promote sustainable coexistence of salmon and human communities, such as an adaptable framework for a sustainable runoff water management policy, a compendium to guide implementation, a model for prioritizing urban drainage areas and activity sectors that will be most harmful under climate change, and concrete sustainable rainwater management

The ROBVQ also held the Grand Forum des communautés résilientes in 2019 in collaboration with the Réseau Québec Maritime and the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network. Bringing together 271 stakeholders, this event aimed to inspire participants to work together to better collectively address the social, environmental and economic issues caused by climate change

Benefits for adaptation

The adaptation plan development process was validated by the members of Rés-Alliance.

Each participating community has increased its autonomy in dealing with the impacts of the issues to which they are exposed.

The project made municipalities and MRCs more aware of the impacts of certain land use planning and water management decisions.

The project also led to the emergence of a common understanding of priority challenges and courses of action to support community resilience, as a direct result of the call to action launched at the Grand Forum.

Scientific publications

Document type
RésAlliance, rapport de fin de projet
Schaldembrand, C.


La contribution d’Ouranos dans ce projet est sous forme d’expertise

Other participants

  • Organismes de bassins versants du Québec

  • Municipalités

  • Brock University

  • Concert’eau

  • Institut national de la santé publique du Québec

  • Ministère de l’Environnement et de la lutte contre les changements climatiques

  • Université Concordia

  • Université de Montréal

  • Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

  • Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

  • Université du Québec à Rimouski

  • Université Laval

  • École de technologie supérieure

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