Environment’s Merrin Macrae lands nearly $3 million to help protect Canada’s water and food systems

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

As part of the Global Water Futures program, Faculty of Environment researcher Merrin Macrae recently received $1.2 million in additional funding to continue and expand her work on examining the impacts of climate change on Canada’s agricultural systems, bringing her funding for this work to a total of nearly $3 million.

merrinMacrae is investigating year-round nutrient losses from agricultural fields and how these are affected by both climate and farming practices. Her work within the Agricultural Water Futures project is exploring how these processes will be impacted by climate variability across different areas in the Great Lakes region, and is being complemented by similar work in the Prairies, for a pan-Canadian approach.

“Thanks to this generous funding, we will be able to explore how agriculture across Canada will be impacted by climate change, and how the sector can adapt to mitigate these risks,” said Macrae. “It allows us to take a multidisciplinary approach to tackling this issue by looking not only at water quality through nutrient losses, but also at crop success and water use, and farmer decision-making through a variety of approaches that include fieldwork, surveys, and also modelling efforts.”

Macrae is one of Canada’s leading experts on the subject. At the University of Waterloo, she is the driving force behind the cross-faculty Biogeochemistry Research Group and is also a member of the interdisciplinary Water Institute.

“This is a multidisciplinary project with a large team of researchers across the country. This collaboration will allow us to advance our understanding of processes within subfields such as crop success, water quality, farmer incentives and decision-making, all while working with stakeholders and end users to co-create this research” she said. “This grant will allow us to do cross-cutting work with key players in the sector, which is a critical step in maintaining food security in Canada. All of these things are important to understanding how agriculture will be impacted by climate change, and how we can manage this risk.”

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