Hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, ON

The GWF Inception Meeting was attended by over 80 individuals, comprised of researchers, support staff, principle investigators, project managers, and more...

Our progress so far: 

  • 21 transformative research, big data and decision support tool projects approved for Pillars 1 & 2
    • Atmospheric science, Hydrology, Water Quality, Water Management & Governance, Health
    • Sensors, crowdsourcing, computing
  • 12 user-question led projects funded for Pillar 3
    • Regional – e.g. Great Lakes, North, Prairies, Mountains, Boreal
    • Sectoral – e.g. Agriculture, Mining
    • Topical – e.g. First Nations co-development, modelling & prediction, algae, climate extremes
  • 6 Core Teams Established
    • 32 core modellers
    • 9 computer scientists
    • 20 observatory technicians (Yukon, NWT, Rockies, Saskatchewan, Ontario)
    • 4 data managers
    • 3 knowledge mobilisation specialists
    • 9 communications specialists
  • Observatories Staffed, Predictions Started
    • Flood forecasting system implemented for Yukon Territory
    • Mountain snow forecasting system for Bow River headwaters in Canadian Rockies
    • Smart Water Systems Laboratory (Western Economic Diversification, CFI)
  • New offices/labs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Yellowknife, NWT, Whitehorse, Yukon and Canmore, Alberta
  • GWF Young Professionals Strategy
  • GWF International Strategy
    • WCRP-GEWEX, UNESCO-IHP, Future Earth, UN Water Decade, MESH in India,
    • International Exchanges (China, Iran, Spain, France, Germany)
  • Indigenous Communities Water Strategy -

Source water protection, Climate change impacts, Upstream industrial water impacts, Water rights, Governance

Inception Statement:

  • GWF has identified a Grand Challenge: how can we best prepare for and manage water futures in the face of dramatically increasing risks from a changing climate, developing economy and changing society?
  • GWF has thus initiated 33 projects addressing critical water research needs, big data and decision support tool development, sensors and user-questions, and 6 core teams addressing observations, data management, computer model-based prediction, communications and knowledge delivery. 
  • These projects and teams have exchanged best practices and have begun their research, observations, modelling and knowledge mobilisation activities and are engaging with over 170 partners/users whilst training over 440 HQP. 
  • GWF is engaging with all levels of government across Canada, with special interest in engagement with Indigenous communities and international UN-based science organisations. 

GWF recognises the continued need to:

  • design models to predict multiple outcomes from coupled climate and other impacts on water for non-traditional objectives,
  • enhance water, climate and terrestrial basin observations using new sensors and remote sensing,
  • further define ecological flow needs, basin-scale impacts and advise/inform the regulatory framework
  • consider a continuum of dynamic agricultural, urban and forestry land use interactions with changing water, climate, cultural and aquatic systems
  • appreciate that water quality impacts on and by urban and rural communities are profoundly important to water and health, and need decision-making based on enhanced observation and supported by the outcomes of integrated models.
  • engage effectively and appropriately with industry to address their needs for data, science information, model outputs, designs and assessment procedures, whilst noting differing interests and confidentiality issues,
  • examine the ubiquitous contaminant legacy, site mitigation, water needs and long-term catchment-functioning rehabilitation issues from mining,
  • develop innovative citizen science and crowdsourcing initiatives, including co-developed systems, that engage those who may generate water information, can be assimilated into enhanced observations and prediction systems and provide positive feedback to data originators,
  • share tools and develop best practices for knowledge mobilisation and communications from projects and core teams in a transdisciplinary framework to key audiences regionally, nationally and internationally that can sustain and inform GWF and benefit Canada and stakeholders
  • engage fully with Indigenous communities’ knowledge, perspectives and needs – for all aspects of GWF.  Knowledge exchange with Indigenous communities can take multiple forms and innovation in co-creation of knowledge can be a fundamental legacy.
  • work at the science-policy interface, inform and propose innovations in policy instruments and governance, including flood plain risk management as a first priority and including and supporting Indigenous communities in decision making.
  •  GWF continues to encourage leveraging, user-engagement and collaboration as ways to expand its science and interactions with users and stakeholders.  It will work to ensure policy relevant science is advanced, engaged, made available and interpreted to inform decision making and decision support.

A summary of the meeting and the rapporteur reports from the cafe discussions is available here.

Agenda and presentations

The meeting took place over two days at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, ON.

Click here for the full meeting agenda as a pdf file

GWF Reporting Information and Discussion Session 

Operations Management Support – GWF Secretariat

Introduction, GWF Overview, and Aims & Objectives for the Meeting - John Pomeroy 

Northern Water Futures - Jennifer Baltzer

Next Generation Solutions to Ensure Healthy Water Resrouces for Future Generations - Mark Servos (on behalf of John Giesy) 

Forecasting Tools and Mitigation Optinos for Diverse Bloom-Affected Lakes - Helen Baulch 

Agricultural Water Futures in Canada: Stressors and Solutions - Merrin Macrae 

Prairie WATER: Sustainable Water Management for Civic and Provincial Policy Makers and Urban, Rural, and Indigenous Communities - Chris Spence 

Co-creating of Indigenous Water Quality Tools - Dawn Martin-Hill 

Boreal Water Futures - Mike Waddington 

Integrated Modelling for Prediction and Management of Change in Canada's Major River Basins - Saman Razavi 

Mountain Water Futures - Sean Carey 

Lake Futures: Enhancing Adaptive Capacity and Resilience of Lakes and their Watersheds - Nandita Basu 

Transformative Sensor Technologies and Smart Watersheds for Canadian Water Futures - Claude Duguay 

Climate-Related Precipitation Extremes - Ron Stewart and Francis Zwiers 

A Proof of Concept Study: Agent Based Modelling as a Tool to Investigate Comprehensive Indigenous Health Impacts of Flooding - Lalita Bharadwaj 

Diagnosing Policy and Governance Effectiveness for Agricultural Water Management During Times of Change - Philip Loring 

Linking Water Governance in Canada to Global Economic, Social and Political Drivers - Rob de Loë

Global Water Citizenship: Integrating Networked Citizens, Scientists and Local Decision Makers - Colin Robertson 

Old Meets New?: Subsurface Hydrogeological Connectivity and Groundwater Protection - Howard Wheater (on behalf of Grant Ferguson) 

SAMMS: Sub-Arctic Metal Mobility Study - Brent Wolfe 

Evaluation of Ice Models in Large Lakes using Three-Dimensional Coupled Hydrodynamic-Ice Models - Kevin Lamb 

Linking Multiple Stressors to Adverse Ecological Responses across Watersheds - Mark Servos 

Winter Soil Processes in Transition - Fereidoun Rezanezhad 

Southern Forests Water Futures - Altaf Arain 

Short-Duration Extreme Precipitation in Future Climate - Yanping Li 

Storms and Precipitation Across the Continental Divide Experiment (SPADE) - Julie Thériault

Linking Stream Network Network Process Models to Robust Data Management Systems for the Purpose of Land-use Decision Support - Bruce MacVicar 

Sensors and Sensing Systems for Water Quality Monitoring - Ravi Selvaganapathy 

'Omic' and Chemical Fingerprinting Methodologies Using Ultrahigh-Resolution Mass Spectrometry for Geochemistry and Healhty Waters - Paul Jones 

Forecasting and Modelling Team: Structure and Plans - Al Pietroniro 

Knowledge Mobilization Team: Structure and Plans - Lawrence Martz 

Computer Science Team: Structure and Plans - Jimmy Lin (on behalf of Kevin Schneider) 

Data Team: Structure and Plans - Branko Zdravkovic 

Communications Team: Structure and Plans - Kathryn Warden 

U of S Technical Teams: What Projects Do They Link To, What Sites, What Activities? - John Pomeroy 

Waterloo Technical Teams: What Projects Do They Link To, What Sites, What Activities? - Dave Rudolph 

Wilfrid Laurier Technical Teams: What Projects Do They Link To, What Sites, What Activities? - Kelly Munkitrick 

McMaster Technical Teams: What Projects Do They Link To, What Sites, What Activities? - Sean Carey

GWF Café 

Discussion on GWF International Linkages and Strategy - John Pomeroy 

Information on GWF Annual Science Meeting - John Pomeroy