Ground Water Canada

Toronto forum to discuss water security

June 12, 2018  By Ground Water Canada

Toronto – Water experts from around the world will gather in Toronto from June 17-20 to discuss water security at Elsevier’s First International Conference on Water Security. University of Waterloo’s professors will be delivering keynotes at the conference.

Water use has been increasing globally at more than twice the rate of the population growth in the last century, the University of Waterloo said in a news release, noting that a rising number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered.
Three of the university’s professors will speak on the issue: Philippe Van Cappellen, Canada Excellence Research Chair Laureate in Ecohydrology; Susan Elliott, Geography and Environmental Management; and Rob de Loë, Environment, Resources and Sustainability.

Philippe Van Cappellen is a Water Institute member and professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo. He is also the co-chair of the Conference on Water Security. His research is closing major gaps in our understanding of how humans are changing the flows and quality of water at the local to global scale. 


“Water security is the greatest challenge facing our planet today,” Van Cappelen said in the release. “We urgently need new platforms and tools to move scientific knowledge and data into solutions that mitigate the impacts of human activities on the availability and quality of freshwater resources.”

Susan Elliott is a Water Institute member and professor of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo, with a particular interest in global environmental health. She is an Adjunct Professor with the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health and a partner in much of the global water and sanitation research that she undertakes. Currently, she is involved in an interdisciplinary project for the QES-Advanced Scholars Program, ‘Water Security as a Foundation for Healthy Communities and Sustainable Livelihoods.’   

“A sustainable supply of clean water is fundamental for agriculture and food security, the environment and health, and maternal and child health,” Elliott said. “Climate change has severe impacts on water supply and sanitation due to increasing levels of severity of droughts and increasing flood risks. This threatens the health of communities and the sustainability of livelihoods in low and middle-income countries and has particularly acute impacts on women and girls.”

Rob de Loë is a Water Institute member and professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. During the past two decades, he has written and consulted extensively about water governance and management in relation to topics such as source water protection, water allocation and climate change adaptation.

“Water security is a balancing act. In a time of increasing variability, competition and uncertainty, we need effective ways to meet human and environmental water needs,” de Loë said. “Good science is necessary, but not sufficient. Water security can only exist where governance systems are strong and effective.”

Learn more about the conference.

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