Thursday May 27—Friday May 28, 2010

Water is of critical economic and strategic importance—a resource, a commodity and an essential element in health, agriculture, energy, urban, commercial and industrial development. Over the last 10 years the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) has invested over $14 million in policy-relevant research on water conditions across Canada. On May 27-28, 2010 the Foundation, in partnership with Environment Canada, brought together 115 experts to discuss what we have learned—and what questions remain.  The Symposium looked at the impact of changing water conditions and their relevance to safety, security, ecosystems, health and economic development. It also considered emerging needs.

The event provided a forum on water security for researchers, policy- and decision- makers.  Issues discussed included competing demands; transboundary water issues; the impact of climate change on groundwater; wetlands and snow and ice conditions; floods and droughts; water contamination issues; and the role of water in fostering or constraining future development in Canadian energy, agriculture, forestry and other sectors. It also considered the need to improve measurements of water flows, in order to track changes.

A public lecture was given by the Deputy Premier and Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources of the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable Michael Miltenberger.

The Symposium helped confirm current and emerging issues and opportunities in water use; as well as the need for ongoing research; and to refine the future scope of the Foundation and its contributions to the national water agenda. The symposium agenda and presentations follow:

Thursday May 27, 2010
09:30 1. Welcome

Gordon McBean, Chair, Board of Trustees, CFCAS

09:35 2. Opening Remarks

Dan WicklumDirector General, Water Science and Technology, EnvironmentCanada

09:55 3. The Global Context of Water Security

Moderator: Elizabeth Dowdeswell, President, Council of Canadian Academies

Keynote address: Gordon Young, President, the International Association of Hydrological Sciences

Respondent: Howard Wheater, Professor of Hydrology, Imperial College, London

Q&As / discussion

11:00 Coffee
11:20 1. You have it or you don’t: extreme water conditions in Canada

Moderator: Charles Lin, Director General, Atmospheric Science and Technology, Environment Canada

The Prairies

Q&As / discussion

12:10 Central Canada

Q&As / discussion

12:50 Lunch
13:40 The Arctic

Q&As / discussion

14:25 2. Changes in water conditions

Moderator: Tom Pedersen, Director, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions

15:10 Health break

Q&As / discussion

15:55 Discussion: Challenges, impacts, opportunities, policy options
16:10 3. Competition and cooperation – resource needs and issues

Q&As / discussion

17:00 4. Summary : Issues to action

Bob Sandford (Chair, Canadian Partnership Initiative, UN Water for Life Decade.)

17:30 Sessions end
17:30-19:00 Reception

Public Lecture Location: Adam Room
19:00-20:00 The Hon. Michael Miltenberger, Deputy Premier and Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories

The Politics of Water

Friday May 28, 2010
09:00 Moderator: Brian Gray, Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology, Environment Canada

5. Impacts on water of the changing climate – Overview

Q&As / discussion

09:30 6. How safe is our water : contamination

Q&As / discussion

10:20 Coffee
10:40 Moderator: Rick Lawford, Network Manager, Drought Research Initiative

7. Ecosystem and hydrological impacts

Q&As / discussion

11:30 8. Transboundary waters

Q&As / discussion

12:20 9. Overview and analysis: Issues to action – Bob Sandford (Chair, Canadian Partnership Initiative, UN Water for Life Decade)
12:40 Concluding remarks

Gordon McBean, Chair, Board of Trustees, CFCAS

12:50 Adjournment
12:50 Lunch