Another Drop Lecture Series 2015

Browse the 2015 archive

Back To The Well: Rethinking The Future Of Water

In order to approach solutions, or approximate solutions, to the problems water is facing we need first of all, to reframe the debate, from considering water as a single global crisis to thinking of the issue as a series of local regional and river basin problems – instead of thinking globally and acting locally, we need to think AND act locally. That makes water problems easier to solve, not harder.

After that, we need to approach solutions through both of the obvious paths, working in concert – the path of the engineer (massive infrastructure projects, bulk water transfers, dams, desalination) and the “soft path” – don’t increase supply, reduce demand instead. Once you look for common ground, it is surprising how often these two paths converge and overlap.

The final point is to avoid taking hard ideological positions on contentious issues, but to find ways for engineers and conservationists to collaborate.

To learn more, view the event invitation here.

Quantifying The Consequence Of Risk And Uncertainty

TD Economics forecasts that natural hazards will cost the Canadian economy up to $43 bn/yr in 2050. The impact of risk on forecast outcomes is typically significant. The sources and magnitude of risk tend to increase as time, space, and scope of forecasts increase. Environmental management issues are good examples where decisions commonly involve multiple sources and high levels of risk, tied to complex biophysical and socioeconomic interactions. Here, risk estimation, quantitative analysis, and stakeholder communications will be examined. Practical examples from management of watersheds, human health impacts and transboundary air pollution will be presented. Some thoughts on what is needed to integrate quantitative risk analysis as a routine part of environmental management decisions will be given.

To learn more, view the event invitation here.

Lake Drying And Livelihood Dynamics

Ecosystem services of lake systems are critical to human livelihoods. Little is known about how lake depletion fits among the suite of stressors confronting agricultural populations in conflict prone regions, and whether locally-evolved responses are enhancing household well-being. This study draws on empirical, mixed-method field research to: 1) understand the influences of the Small Lake Chad on farming, fishing and pastoral livelihood groups in relation to livelihood drawbacks and opportunities, and the major mechanisms that shape these influences; 2) identify the diverse suite of stressors affecting households and where the Small Lake Chad fits among these; and 3) unpack the diverse portfolio of responses and whether they reflect locally adapted solutions. Addressing the manner in which drying lake environments act as a cover for insurgency will help to enhance livelihood security, creating an enabling context of cooperation rather than conditions conducive to conflict.

To learn more, visit the event invitation here. 

Water & Energy for Societies, Equality & Sustainable Development

This Another Drop event will feature the launch of the UN report, Putting Water and Energy at the Heart of Sustainable Development, a reception announcing a new partnership between UNU-INWEH and EPCOR, and a seminar presentation on the importance of meeting water and energy targets post-2015.

Speakers: Dr. Corinne Schuster-Wallace (UNU-INWEH), Bob Sandford (EPCOR Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of United Nations “Water for Life” Decade)

The China-Canada Three Gorges Water Science Centre’s Role In Addressing Sustainable Water Management Of The Three Gorges Reservoir

The Three Gorges Dam is one of the world’s largest hydraulic engineering projects used to generate and supply electrical power, control flooding, and provide a source of water, via diversions, to the north of China where water is limited. Situated on the Yangtze River, the reservoir is the second largest in the world. The Yangtze River itself supports 33% of agricultural production in China and is a critical resource and component to China’s water security. The China-Canada Three Gorges Water Science Centre (CCTW) was created as a coalition between Chinese and Canadian universities to generate a watershed approach to address water quality issues within the reservoir. This seminar will provide an overview of two sponsored reservoir projects, the vision of CCTW, and its future strategy to increase its expertise base through Canadian and Chinese institutional partnerships.

Speaker: Dr. Ken G. Drouillard  (University of Windsor)

The Global Water Crisis As A Governance Crisis 

Water has been called blue gold and the new oil of the 21st century, raising the spectre of water wars between sovereign nations due to growing competition for clean freshwater. Climate variability and change are threat multipliers superimposed on connected food, energy and water security challenges. This presentation separates the rhetoric from the reality by framing the global water crisis as a crisis of governance. It identifies the drivers of the global water crisis and examines policy responses in large rivers of North America and Australia, closing with implications for Canada’s domestic and foreign policy.

Speaker: Dustin Garrick (McMaster University)

Water, Climate & Society 

Whether through extreme events or sea-level rise, many of the impacts of climate change are delivered by water.The challenges are complex, and the need for science to inform decision-making has never been greater. This distinguished lecture hosts leading practitioners in Canada and the US to learn lessons from the frontlines of efforts to respond to climate change. The two lectures are complementary perspectives on the nature of the climate change challenges we face, and the policy options to adapt.

Attendees are also invited to the Philomathia Water Futures Wine & Cheese Reception proceeding this distinguished lecture beginning at 5:30pm. (RSVP by October 01, 2014 required.)

Speakers: Katharine Jacobs (National Climate Assessment for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy), Bob Sandford (EPCOR Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of United Nations “Water for Life” Decade)

World Water Day 2014: The Water-Energy Nexus – From Global to Local

Water purification requires energy and energy production requires water. Water and energy are not only both closely interconnected and interdependent with choices and actions in one domain positively or negatively affecting the other, but combined together, they impact on sanitation and food production. As the “bottom billion” continue to urgently need access to water, electricity, sanitation and food, understanding the interlinkages and synergies between water and energy to alleviate poverty should be a priority. Water and energy is therefore the theme for this year’s World Water Day on March 22. This panel event will focus on the water-energy nexus and linkages to food security and health issues. Panelists will draw from examples from across the world to illustrate these linkages such as the current development of a Ugandan strategy for wastewater reuse and the City of Hamilton’s biogas initiative to achieve zero-net-energy use.

Speakers: Emma Quillerou (UNU-INWEH), Michael Theodoulou (Anaergia Inc.), Dan McKinnon (City of Hamilton)

Global Action, Local Impact: Mercury Contamination In Arctic Ecosystems

Northern ecosystems and peoples currently face a number of environmental challenges, including climate change and chemical contaminants. There has been increasing concern about mercury levels in marine and freshwater organisms in the Arctic, due to the importance of traditional country foods such as fish and marine mammals to the diet of Northern peoples. This talk will look at mercury in Arctic aquatic ecosystems, tracking its path from sources to animals and people, and answering questions such as “how can there be concern about mercury in a pristine region such as the Arctic?” This is a story that has chemical, ecological, and human aspects and is complicated by other issues such as climate change.

Speaker: Dr. Igor Lehnherr (University of Waterloo)

Sustainable Development Governance In The Post-2015 Development Era: A Few Reflections

In 2015, the Millennium Development Goals – a set of global targets ushered in with the new millennium designed to eradicate poverty around the world – will end. What will the global leaders choose as the next set of targets post-2015? With climate change, continued inequity in access to established human rights, and widespread conflict in parts of the world, these goals will be important for steering a future where change is the only certainty.What are the mechanisms for deciding these goals and targets? How does water fit in to sustainable development governance? Where does Canada fit in this process? This presentation will focus on the post-2015 agenda intergovernmental processes while reflecting on the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals and the broader role of water, especially with regard to agricultural management.

Speaker: Dr. Aslam Chaudhry (United Nations Secretariat)