The Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue at the University of Ottawa is supporting the creation of a new research project on water regulation and governance. The project will use water-related issues as a lens to identify climate change-induced problems and their ramifications, and then make recommendations to multi-level policymakers.
“The most precious natural resource to humankind, fresh water, is largely unregulated, rapidly depleting at unsustainable rates and the climate crisis will exacerbate these difficulties in the coming years,” says Marie-France Fortin, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section. “Addressing groundwater depletion is particularly urgent. Aquifers on the planet are overexploited due to a laissez-faire approach and under-regulated access to this often non-renewable resource. Fifty percent of the population world-wide depends on groundwater for drinking water, but by 2030, the planet will face a 40% shortfall in water supply unless we drastically improve the management of this precious resource.”
This joint project under the leadership of Marie-France Fortin of the Civil Law Section, Nathalie Chalifour and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray of the Common Law Section, and Eric Champagne of the Faculty of Social Sciences seeks to foster dialogue between scholars, governmental actors, interest groups and the general public to identify the most pressing water-related public policy concerns. The reseachers will work with the Centre on Governance, the Public Law Centre and the Centre for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability,
“Canadian experts have repeatedly called for a national strategy on water,” says Fortin. “As consultations are taking place on the creation of a Canada Water Agency, now is an opportune moment to critically examine existing policies on the management, preservation and regulation of water in Canada, an endeavour that will require close, interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as the inclusion and representation of non-governmental organizations and other key stakeholders in developing policies.
“In addition to developing multi-level policies and model regulations aimed at the sustainable management of freshwater resources and tapping into the University of Ottawa’s expertise, we are hoping to foster dialogue and communication with governmental actors, interest groups and the general public. By ensuring knowledge dissemination to individuals in connection with the consumption, preservation and utilisation of fresh water, our project will contribute to protecting that precious resource and building inclusive and durable democracies.”
The Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue is firmly rooted in the research mission of the University, helping expand the global reach and impact of uOttawa on all areas of public policy.