Abstracts

Submitting Abstracts for Oral Presentations, Sessions, or Posters

CWRA is now accepting abstracts for oral and poster presentations, as well as recommended submissions for special sessions related to the conference theme of CWRA 2020 – How well is Canada managing its water resources? 

Historically, Canada has faced many water-related issues and challenges. Extreme droughts and floods, quality issues, water apportionment, and competing priorities among water users are just a few examples of these challenges. Water resources professionals in Canada strive to advance our collective knowledge on how to effectively manage water using both indigenous knowledge and traditional science. This conference will provide an opportunity to reflect on past experiences, discuss best practices, and explore where improvements need to be made to enhance the resiliency and effectiveness of Canada’s water management.

A more collaborative and adaptive approach – not just within the water resources sector but across all society – is required to tackle significant issues facing the water sector including climate change, extreme meteorological events, water pollution and Indigenous water rights. Participants in this conference can share innovative tools and new technologies, provide examples of working collaboratively across disciplines, application of integrated and adaptive approaches, improvements to standards and guidelines, as well as innovative governance models and policies that support effective water management.

We encourage submissions from all disciplines to help us discuss how well we are managing our water resources. Abstracts describing your submission should be brief (less than 400 words) and will describe the subject and main purpose of your presentation. If possible, please highlight what ideas and information your audience will hear and what your presentation hopes to accomplish.

Conference Categories

We invite you to submit your abstract, poster, or special session topic under one of the following categories and sub-themes. For more information on each category and sub-theme, please follow the links or see the detailed descriptions below.

  1. Climate Change
    • Water security and climate change resiliency
    • Managing extreme events (floods and droughts)
    • Traditional knowledge and Indigenous adaptation
  2. Water Management and Collaboration
    • Integrated and adaptive approaches, collaborations and partnerships
    • Water apportionment and transboundary water management
    • Water rights, policy and governance
    • Traditional knowledge, Indigenous perspectives and interests
    • Sector use of water (includes sessions related to CANCID)
  3. Science, Tools and Technology
    • Innovative tools and technologies
    • Advancements in science and hydrology (includes sessions related to CSHS)
  4. Health of waters and Ecosystems
    • Water quality
    • Ecological health
    • Aquatic Invasive Species

Deadlines:

The deadline for abstract and special session submissions is January 24, 2020. Please submit your abstract for an oral presentation, poster,  or special session proposal through the conference portal by clicking the button above.

Speakers will be notified by mid- to late-March 2020 and the full program will be published on the conference website by early- to mid-April 2020.

Call for Workshops: 

Pre-conference workshop will be held on Monday, June 1, 2020. Workshops can be either a half- or full-day session. As there is limited space available, workshop session proposals will be accepted on a first-come first-serve basis. Please submit your workshop proposal as soon as possible via conference.program@cwra.org.

Speaker Registration 

CWRA is a non-profit organization and generates most of its income through memberships and the annual conference. As such, speakers are kindly requested to register for the conference as an attendee.

For further information contact: conference.program@cwra.org

Detailed Conference Category Descriptions

Category 1: Climate Change

Water Security and Climate Change Resiliency – The impacts of climate change are creating additional stressors and challenges on how we manage water including threats to sustainable access to water and ensuring human and ecosystem health. This session seeks to identify climate change adaptation measures and explore ways to address competing water demands.

  • How do we deal with competing land and water uses and other demands of our finite water resources?
  • What approaches and considerations are required to ensure long-term sustainability, water security and greater resiliency to the impacts of a changing climate?

Managing Extreme Events (Floods and Droughts) – Flooding in Southern Alberta and Toronto in 2013, in Manitoba in 1997, 2011 and 2014, in New Brunswick in 2019 and the Western Canada drought in 2015 are just a few examples of the extreme events that we have experienced in Canada. Not only do these types of events cause severe damages but they also have a significant economic and social impact. Such events are becoming more frequent and widespread. This session will provide a forum to identify strategies to manage this variability and the expected increase in variability due to climate change.

  • How prepared are we in dealing with these types of events and what factors do we need to consider moving forward?
  • What tools and management approaches can assist us in being more prepared and to reduce the impact of such events?

Traditional Knowledge and Indigenous adaptation

Indigenous communities are particularly at risk from climate change impacts due to their locations, aging infrastructure, and closer ties to the land. From inland and coastal flooding to extremes in temperatures, forest fires and invasive species, climate change is affecting the economic and cultural wellbeing of Indigenous peoples. The goal of this session is to improve knowledge on community resilience to climate change by identifying different issues faced by Indigenous peoples, highlighting examples of successful community-based projects focused on climate change adaptation and engaging in a dialogue that focuses on solutions to challenges faced by Indigenous communities.

  • How is Traditional Knowledge being incorporated in planning for climate change?
  • What are the current and future threats and opportunities for adaptation in Indigenous community?

Category 2: Water Management and Collaboration

Integrated and Adaptive Approaches, Collaborations and Partnerships – Addressing water challenges often requires multiple organizations and stakeholders to work together and form partnerships. Whether formal or informal, the key is working together as there are many disciplines, interests and values that contribute to informed water management responses and decisions. This session will explore how various partners can work together and achieve a successful outcome.

  • What makes a successful collaboration or partnership and what are the pitfalls?
  • How can we use adaptive management approaches to deal with uncertainties and address complex challenges?

Water Apportionment and Transboundary Water Management – Water knows no political boundaries, yet water management responsibilities are shared among federal, territorial, provincial and municipal governments, and Indigenous and treaty right holders. Various coordinating mechanisms and cooperative approaches (e.g. International Joint Commission, Prairie Provinces Water Board, Walastakw River Interim Statement of Cooperation) are being applied in an attempt to address the shared nature of water management. This session will provide an opportunity to share experiences and strategies on how to manage this shared resource.

  • Are existing shared management mechanisms effective?
  • Are there other tools and approaches that we need to consider in managing water across political boundaries?

Water Rights, Policy and Governance – Whether it is access to fresh drinking water, the sale of water, or the alteration of water bodies and pathways for private and public good, the mechanisms under which we manage this public resource can have wide implications on society. This session will explore various governance models and water management approaches are being applied across Canada, their benefits and their downfalls.

  • Do we have the necessary policies in place to support effective water management?
  • How are water rights protected and how do they influence water management decisions?

Traditional Knowledge, Indigenous Perspectives and Interests – Traditional and Indigenous knowledge plays a crucial role in achieving sustainable resource management. Such knowledge is generated, maintained and passed-down through oral tradition and practices.  It is important to include traditional knowledge in the decision making process and in developing solutions aimed at sustaining our water resources. This session will explore the integration of these knowledge pathways into our water management systems.

  • What are the gaps and barriers to integrating Traditional and Indigenous knowledge?
  • How do we bridge these gaps and how do we ensure that this knowledge is maintained and integrated into our water management strategies?

Sector Use of Water – There are numerous demands and pressures on water by different sectors such as mining, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, etc. This session will examine ways that this finite resource can be equitably shared in a sustainable manner.

  • How can we collaborate across sectors to ensure water is sustained for present and future generations?
  • What technologies can be applied to reduce water use and/or recycle water?

Please note that a number of the Sector Use of Water Sessions will be hosted by Canadian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (CANCID). CANCID activities aim to stimulate and promote research, development and application of technology among those individuals and organizations in Canada who are interested in irrigation, drainage, and flood control in rural areas. CANCID sessions will focus on topics related to these activities.

Category 3: Science, Innovative Tools and Technologies

Innovative Tools and Technologies – There are many challenges when managing water, especially in the context of climate change. Innovative thinking is required to come up with solutions to issues like water scarcity, excess water and/or water quality. We already have numerous tools (e.g. modeling and decision support tools) and technologies (e.g. wastewater treatment, green infrastructure) available to us and building on these, this session will explore novel approaches to addressing water challenges.

  • Are the tools and technologies we currently use sufficient?
  • Are there other advancements and innovative solutions to help guide policy, technology and behavior change?

Advancements in Science and Hydrology – science and technology play a critical role in developing the necessary solutions that are needed to manage water effectively. Our knowledge of water and hydrologic systems, including our understanding of Cold Region Hydrology, have advanced significantly in recent years which leads to more effective decision making and finding solutions that are most effective. However, more information will be needed in the future as we are trying to tackle more complex challenges such as climate change. A multi-disciplinary and systems-based approach will be needed which spans much broader than the physical and biological sciences. This session will focus on our current knowledge and what additional information we need moving forward.

  • What do we know about the current state of water? What are the gaps? What additional information do we need?
  • How do we facilitate different disciplines and water users coming together to advance our knowledge and make decisions?

Please note that a number of the sessions related to Science and Hydrology will be hosted by the Canadian Society for Hydrological Sciences (CSHS). CSHS promotes the science of hydrology and its sound application in effective water management. CSHS sessions will focus on topics related to CSHS’s mandate.

Category 4: Water and Ecosystem Health

Water Quality – the health and well-being of humans and ecosystems depend heavily on the quality of the water. Water is necessary for all biological life. Key concerns related to water quality include the impacts of water pollution on human health and on ecosystems, as well as economic aspects such as the costs related to treatment. This session will focus on current knowledge and trends related to water quality, as well as the actions taken to protect our water resources.

  • What are research findings telling us about water quality in Canada?
  • How do we ensure that water quality is maintained and/or improved as to ensure safe drinking water for future generations?

Ecological Health Canada has the third largest renewable supply of freshwater in the world and, in general, our water quality is often considered in an acceptable state. However, there are increasing challenges and concerns when it comes to ecosystem health including nuisance and toxic algal blooms, invasive species, plastic pollution, pesticides and other contaminants. While some are more localized, many of these issues are of regional or national concern. In this session, speakers are invited to discuss how we manage our water for both ecological and human benefits.

  • What are the management practices and behavior changes required as to improve our overall ecological health of our water bodies?
  • What knowledge gaps need to be addressed?

Aquatic Invasive Species – are the second biggest threat to diversity in our ecosystems. The impact of aquatic invasive species include reducing biodiversity and habitat quality, outcompeting and endangering native species, increased costs of managing our water resources, and potential harm for recreational activities. The discovery of Zebra Mussel veligers in Lake of the Woods in the fall of 2019 is a reminder that our waterbodies are very vulnerable to the invasion of numerous aquatic invasive species. This session will focus on why we should be concerned and what we need to do to reduce the spread of these species.

  • What do we know about these species? What do we need to know more of?
  • How can we work collaboratively to reduce the spread and the impacts?