Water Institute members lead impactful projects on climate change

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Climate change is significantly impacting Canada’s water resources. From melting permafrost, to more pervasive algal blooms, to increased flooding, these impacts are only expected to increase in the future. Three professors from the University of Waterloo’s Water Institute have been awarded significant grants to develop new, innovative technologies and to deliver new management approaches to enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of Canada’s water resources in the face of climate change.

Nandita Basu from the Faculties of Science and Engineering, Claude Duguay from the Faculty of Environment, and Merrin Macrae from the Faculty of Environment are the principal investigators on three of the 11 projects receiving funding from the Global Water Futures initiative – the largest university-led water research program ever funded worldwide. A total of 40 Water Institute members from 10 different departments will contribute to the 11 projects.

“Each of these projects brings together a team of researchers from various disciplines, and from multiple institutions,” said Philippe Van Cappellen, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ecohydrology and the Water Institute coordinator of the Global Water Futures project. “The Global Water Futures program will transform water management in Canada, and it’s very exciting that the University of Waterloo is involved.”

3 mile lake

Professor Nandita Basu from the Faculties of Science and Engineering is the principal investigator on a project that focuses on the causes, impacts and mitigation of various pressures affecting water quality in the Great Lakes. By creating models, determining indicators and measuring the vulnerability of the lake ecosystem, the project will deliver long-term management tools and strategies that account for changing climate and land use.

Professor Claude Duguay from the Faculty of Environment is leading a project to develop, test and implement a “Big Data” platform that supports the measurement, monitoring and understanding of various water issues affecting cold regions. The project will couple terrestrial sensor networks, drones and satellites to provide accurate and real-time data for Canada’s water managers.

Professor Merrin Macrae from the Faculty of Environment will evaluate water availability, use and quality in the agricultural sector. The project will develop improved predictive tools, policy instruments and governance strategies to facilitate the sustainable management of water resources in agricultural regions of Canada.

red barn on farm

“The research outcomes and impact from each of these projects will contribute significantly to new risk management approaches, new technologies and decision-making tools, and other evidence-based solutions to address complex water challenges facing Canada in upcoming years,” said Roy Brouwer, Executive Director of the Water Institute and professor in the Department of Economics.

For more information, visit Waterloo's Global Water Futures website.

University of Waterloo, Water Institute, Global Water Futures logo