Director's Message

March 2024

Dear GWF and GWFO members and collaborators,

Professor John Pomeroy, FRSC
Director, Global Water Futures and Global Water Futures Observatories

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Canada Foundation for Innovation has signed off on the $40.67M Major Science Initiative – Global Water Futures Observatories project to run from 2023-2029. We are very grateful to CFI-MSI for its 40% support of this project which keeps a network of 64 GWF and RAEON instrumented basin, lake, glacier, river and wetland observation sites, 15 deployable water measurement systems and 18 water laboratories operating along with data management, science, outreach and knowledge mobilization functions. We are also very grateful to the nine partner universities: Saskatchewan, Waterloo, McMaster, Toronto, Windsor, Wilfrid Laurier, Carleton, Western, and Trent for their matching support for the first two years of GWFO operation. We look forward to developing partnerships to keep GWFO operating through its full term and beyond.

GWFO's vision is to serve as a national water observatory consisting of a network of instrumented water observing sites, supported by deployable observing systems and major laboratories, that provides open access water data and the necessary infrastructure to collect supplementary data, which informs the development and testing of water prediction models, monitors changes in water sources, underpins diagnosis of risks to water security and helps design solutions to ensure the long-term sustainability of Canadian water resources. GWFO provides open access to its meteorological, glaciological, hydrological, water quality, and freshwater data, which will contribute to the development and evaluation of water prediction models, monitor changes in water sources, support the identification of water security risks, and aid in designing strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of Canadian water resources.

We are having the LAUNCH of GWFO on April 17th as a hybrid event – at the University of Saskatchewan in Convocation Hall for the in-person event and online, with presentations from our partners and a discussion of what we plan to accomplish with this project - all GWF participants and users are welcome to attend in person or online. More details to come and watch for the launch of the GWFO website very shortly (links from the GWF website will be provided).

Two upcoming events I wish to draw your attention to. On Thursday, March 21st we begin the celebration of the UN's International Year for Glacier's Preservation with a World Day for Glaciers online event at 1100h MDT, and an in-person event at ArtsPlace in Canmore, Alberta. This is the first celebration of the UN Glacier Year and will outline what the Year is about and what we might achieve together for mountain snow, ice, and water resources. The next day, snow and ice turn to water and on Friday, March 22nd we celebrate World Water Day's 2024 theme of Water for Peace at both the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Waterloo.

GWF continues to make great progress in its no-cost extension "wrap up" phase, with the projects completing their research this year by August 2024 and a major GWF Synthesis effort to develop a National report with regional and an Indigenous report by 2025. As GWF is the most published water research group in the world, there is much to summarize...
To help in the Synthesis, there are several GWF sessions, a public event, and a tour of GWFO research sites to be held at the Canadian Water Resources Association 2024 National Conference in Saskatoon in June of this year where you can follow, discuss and digest recent GWF discoveries and GWFO capabilities. You may also find it enjoyable and informative to read the engaging stories describing GWF research titled "Weaving Science", developed by Dr. Monica Morrison and the knowledge mobilization and communications teams.

Finally, there have been changes in the GWF leadership and secretariat that I would like to note. Dr. Corinne Schuster-Wallace, formerly Associate Director of GWF, became the Executive Director of the USask Global Institute for Water Security in September 2023 and remains a member of the Strategic Management Committee – thank you Corinne for your superb contributions to leading and developing GWF and your commitment to service in leading GIWS. Dr. Phani Adapa, formerly Director of Operations of GWF and GWFO and a key person in developing the successful proposals and subsequent operation of GWF and GWFO, has become Director of USask's Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Vice President Research this month. Phani has served both GWF and GWFO so well and in so many ways, we owe him tremendous gratitude for his exceptional contributions, insight, and commitment. Dr. Chris DeBeer will take on the role of Director of Science and Operations for both GWF and GWFO – thank you Chris for picking up this important work. We have also reduced functions in the Secretariat and thank Mark Ferguson, Dr. Andrea Rowe, and Fred Reibin for their exceptional contributions to GWF's research and impact.

GWF and GWFO continue to be exceptionally important programs that are advancing Canada's water sustainability in the face of a rapidly changing society and environment. It is an honour to serve them.

Yours truly,
John Pomeroy
Director, GWF and GWFO