Waterloo research institutes host interdisciplinary summer school on water security and climate change

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Climate change poses significant risks to water security in urban settings. Addressing this complex challenge requires collaboration and the incorporation of knowledge and expertise from various disciplines. The University of Waterloo’s Water Institute (WI) and Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) are advancing these efforts by delivering a uniquely designed, three-week virtual summer school, “Climate Change and Water Security in Urbanized Watersheds: An Interdisciplinary Perspective.” The summer school leverages the wide-ranging expertise of the University’s water and climate change researchers, tackling the complex topics of global climate change and water security through an interdisciplinary lens.

City of Toronto Skyline
Ninety-four participants from more than 15 countries participated in this year’s program, which ran from May 31st to June 18th, 2021. The summer school covered a wide range of program topics, including climate modelling and projections, climate change risk management, the role of green and grey infrastructure in water supply, water and food security in Indigenous communities, and many more. Daily lectures and interactive discussions were led by 18 professors, who included leading experts from all six Waterloo faculties and members from both the WI and IC3. This was the second edition of the summer school and the first to be offered virtually.

“The WI was delighted to partner with IC3 to deliver this innovative and important summer school” says Roy Brouwer, Executive Director of WI. “While lacking the in-person interaction of our inaugural edition, the benefits of offering a virtual program offered unique access to young scholars from across the globe to participate and gain valuable knowledge and experience. We are looking forward to growing this highly interdisciplinary summer school in the years to come and increasing Waterloo’s global impact.”

The summer school was aimed at graduate students and practitioners, and offered participants a variety of unique lectures on interdisciplinary approaches to water security challenges in urbanized watersheds due to climate change. By incorporating a dynamic group of faculty members from across research disciplines, the program equipped participants with a wealth of knowledge in a diverse range of topics, showcasing the intersections of climate change and water security.

“Water security is deeply interwoven with our changing climate in a multitude of ways, making it even more important to apply fundamentally interdisciplinary thinking to these challenges” explains Sarah Burch, Executive Director of IC3. “The summer school offered students access to an incredible range of skilled and thoughtful experts, all of whom connect science to practice as they address pressing sustainability problems.”

Sarah Burch and Roy Brouwer presenting in a summer school session

IC3 executive director Sarah Burch and WI executive director Roy Brouwer delivering their summer school lectures.