Another Drop Lecture Series 2016

Browse the 2016 archive

#SwimDrinkFish @HamiltonHarbour

Insights on the most intimate human interactions with our Bay

• Can we swim in Hamilton Harbour?
• Can we eat the fish?
• Where does our water go when it rains or we flush the toilet?

These questions are fundamental to our understanding and appreciation of our Bay as a natural system and community asset. The Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan (RAP) is a set of community goals and activities to repair our badly degraded Bay. In advance of BARC’s next report card on RAP and restoration progress in 2017, this presentation is an overview of some ofthe current issues defining our community’s relationship with its water.

For more information, view the event invitation here

Payments for Watershed Services

Forests, wetlands and grasslands all provide “watershed services” by enhancing water quality and supply, biodiversity and carbon storage. They have economic value but unfortunately their market price is $0, says Prof. Roy Brouwer, Executive Director of the Water Institute.

Payments for watershed services is a growing practice, where economists are studying how to attach the right price to the essential services that watersheds provide. Prof. Brouwer says, “when used properly, these payment schemes could significantly help preserve water ecosystems around the world.” But, in general, there is a lack of effective water pricing practices, which means there is no direct economic incentive for water users to conserve valuable water resources.

There are currently over 100 payments for watershed services schemes operating around the world. During World Water Week in Stockholm, Prof. Brouwer said the payment schemes are more common
in developing countries but are also of interest elsewhere.

The challenge lies in understanding what payment schemes are most effective under which circumstances: Who should pay and how much? What indicators should be monitored? Pinpointing what makes these schemes effective is what Prof. Brouwer is investigating.

For more information, view the event invitation here

Another Drop…From Your Tap

Water has a multitude of uses and touches on almost every aspect of our lives. Yet, almost 663 million
people in the world lack access to safe water. Clean drinking water is a human right taken for granted
in Canada. However, with climate change, increasing populations and worsening pollution, water
may become a much-sought after commodity here too.

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan – Hamilton’s sister city – highlights the potential for water insecurity
anywhere. UNU-INWEH presents a panel of experts to explore the topics related to water security by
answering three questions:
• Why did Flint happen; can it happen here?
• Why do people around the world lack access to clean water; can it happen here? and
• Do we need to rethink water management?

Speakers include Dr. Sarah Dickson from McMaster University as well as UNU-INWEH’s Dr. Lisa Guppy and Dr. Nidhi Nagabhatla.

For more information, view the event invitation here


Locking Up Randle Reef

Hamilton Harbour is home to the largest and most contaminated site within the Canadian side of the Great Lakes – Randle Reef. The site is approximately 60 hectares (120 football fields) in size containing approximately 695,000 cubic meters of sediment contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and other toxic chemicals. The contamination is often described as “a spill in slow motion” due to the continuing slow spread of contaminants across the Harbour floor and uptake into the food chain of the Harbour ecosystem. PAH contamination at Randle Reef is a legacy of a variety of past industrial processes dating back to the 1800s. There were multiple sources of contamination including coal gasification, petroleum refining, steel making, municipal waste, sewage and overland drainage.

The site was first identified as a principal target of Harbour restoration efforts in the late 1980s. Studies were conducted over several years to determine possible options for cleaning up the site. In 2002, a Project Advisory Group reached an agreement to explore the idea of containing and capping the sediment. An environmental assessment, project designs, and the quest to secure funding followed. The Randle Reef sediment remediation project involves constructing a 6.2 hectare engineered containment facility on top of a portion of the most contaminated sediment, then dredging and placing the remaining contaminated sediment in the facility.

This presentation will examine the history and characteristics of the problem and the solution.

To learn more, view the event invitation here.


The State Of Science In The Mackenzie Basin

The Mackenzie River is one of the great rivers of the world, ranking 10th by drainage area, and with a watershed that covers about 20% of Canada’s land mass. One of the names used by the Dene peoples that live in the basin is Dehcho, or the Great River. Despite its large size, the Mackenzie River basin is under threat from climate change, natural resource extraction and urban development. UNU-INWEH is pleased to host a discussion of the current state of the basin and future challenges for this important river system. Two experts will present their viewpoints on this vulnerable river system. UNU-INWEH partnered with The Gordon Foundation to prepare a historical record of research generated on the Mackenzie River basin from 1960 to 1985. This report entitled, “Dehcho – Great River: The State of Science in the Mackenzie Basin (1960-1985)” will be introduced to the public at the panel event.

To learn more, view the event invitation here.