OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 03/18/13 -- Public and private sector business leaders, researchers and water experts are kicking off Canada Water Week with Canadian Water Network's Connecting Water Resources 2013: Changing the Water Paradigm conference (March 18-21, 2013, Ottawa) to discuss distinctly Canadian answers to growing global challenges: how can we innovate to better manage our water resources, feed and power the world, and ensure safe drinking amidst growing uncertainty and risk?
Water resources play a crucial role in driving global economic growth in key sectors such as agriculture and resource development, as well as advancing social welfare and quality of life. However, global water challenges such as declining water quality and supply, climate change, population growth and subsequent pressures on food production, and dated municipal infrastructures can pose a significant threat to the sustainability of industries, businesses, cities and its people.
"There are many who see the global water crisis as rife with challenges and doomsday predictions," says Bernadette Conant, Executive Director of Canadian Water Network. "We need to shift our perspective on these water issues, and seize the opportunities for innovation that tackling these challenges can present to Canada when we connect the key ideas and people. Viewing both domestic and global water issues through this lens will help drive important conversations forward and push Canada to the forefront of sustainable water management."
Canadian Water Network, one of Canada's federally-supported Networks of Centres of Excellence, has invested more than $50 million dollars in the last decade to advance the research being done to develop more resilient, adaptive systems and frameworks to deal with the uncertainty and risks related to water.
"Given our stewardship of a significant portion of the global water supply, and our strong expertise in water management and science, Canada is in a position to be a global leader," says Peter Steblin, Chair of the Board for Canadian Water Network. "But it requires a great deal of public and private sector commitment and a willingness to approach water challenges from a new perspective - one that recognizes sustainable water management as a value, not as a cost."
Canadian Water Network's Connecting Water Resources 2013 conference in Ottawa this week brings together a network of world-class water experts, academics, and private and public sector leaders to address current and emerging water challenges affecting key areas:
Resource Development: Oil and gas, mining, and forestry sectors comprise almost 20 per cent of Canada's GDP. These sectors are increasingly under global scrutiny as Canada's natural resource exports grow. What must Canada's resource development sector do to improve its record on water use and protection, and its standing globally? How can more sustainable practices in these sectors build the foundation for Canada to lead a Blue Economy?
Municipal Water Management: The development of water systems in cities around the world date back almost a century. With Canada's municipal water infrastructure deficit at more than $80 billion, according to the 2012 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, it is indicative that many municipalities have likely made very little progress in upgrading water management systems to accommodate rapid urbanization. What are the implications for public health and safety, urban planning, and climate change and risk management?
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