University of Saskatchewan

Global Water Futures: Solutions to Water Threats in an Era of Global Change

The world is entering an era of immense water-related threats due to climate change and human actions. Floods, droughts, reduced water availability and degraded water quality threaten communities, nations and global sociopolitical and economic security.

Global Water Futures will position Canada as a global hub for leading-edge, user-driven water science for the world’s cold regions. In these regions, snow, ice and frozen soils affect water availability, and global warming and human activities are creating unprecedented environmental change.

Through an unprecedented assembly of leading Canadian water research expertise and international partners, Global Water Futures will improve our national capability to predict the risks and severity of potentially catastrophic floods and droughts (which have cost Canada an estimated $19 billion so far in this century). It will also balance competing water needs, and employ innovative strategies and policy tools to enable communities, industries and governments to reduce and manage water threats.

By developing new, transdisciplinary science; new environmental monitoring systems and predictive modeling tools; and novel, user-focussed approaches to putting new knowledge into action, Global Water Futures will become an international provider of urgently needed risk management technologies, decision-making tools, and other evidence-based solutions to complex water challenges.

These challenges include source-water quality issues that primarily affect northern and Indigenous communities, where 1,000 boil water advisories were in effect as of 2016. Global Water Futures will develop new apps and other innovative information and decision support tools to:

  • enable policy-makers, resource managers and business leaders to make evidence-based plans;
  • train the next generation of water scientists and policy-makers in ways of building a sustainable water future for Canada; and
  • develop marketable, new monitoring and predictive tools and technologies to help address global water security issues, while improving Canada’s global competitiveness.