Water Institute and the University of São Paulo continue collaboration with groundwater security workshop

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

On October 7-8, the Water Institute was pleased to host several colleagues from the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil to participate in a workshop that addressed various water security issues facing the Guarani Aquifer. The Guarani Aquifer, which is under increasing threat from deforestation, urbanization and climate change, is the second largest aquifer in the world and is a critical source of freshwater for the megacity of São Paulo. During the workshop, Water Institute and USP researchers exchanged information on water quantity and quality threats facing groundwater more generally and the aquifer specifically, potential groundwater remediation approaches, and the economic valuation of groundwater resources. Water Institute members and the USP professors spent the second day of the workshop discussing the development of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary 5-year research proposal, to be submitted to the State of São Paulo’s Research Foundation, focusing on “Integrated Water Management Solutions for Climate Resilient Cities in Urbanized Watersheds”, together with experts from the Secretariat for the Environment of the State of São Paulo and associated research institutions like the State’s Geological Institute and Forest Institute.

The Water Institute and USP have collaborated for many years under the auspices of a Memorandum of Understanding that was originally signed in 2012, and renewed in 2018. There exist other historical links as well. Prof. Ricardo Hirata, one of the collaborating USP professors, visited the University of Waterloo as a post-doctoral fellow in the 1990's. In 2018, a Water Institute delegation was invited by the Secretariat for the Environment of the State of São Paulo, its research institutes and the University of São Paulo to participate in a 3-day workshop to address and discuss the major water challenges facing the state, and the metropolitan area where more than 20 million people live.

The University of São Paulo is considered the top university in South America with almost 95,000 students. The Water Institute was particularly honoured that Dr. Edson Wendland, Professor and Dean of the Department of Hydraulics and Sanitary Engineering, presented a WaterTalk on the “Hydrology of the 2014 São Paulo, Brazil Water Crisis” during his visit to Waterloo.


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