Abstract Submission

We are now accepting abstracts for oral presentations and poster sessions in preparation for the 2021 CWRA National Conference. We welcome experts from all backgrounds (academics, private and public sector water professionals, environmental organisations, etc.) to submit an abstract based on one of the conference themes relating to managing water risks and opportunities.

If you have any questions, please contact us at Conference.Chair@cwra.com.

Abstract Submission is now closed. Thank you for all your submissions!

Important Dates to Remember

Abstract submission deadline: February 28, 2021 (23 :59 Eastern Standard Time)

**DATE CHANGE! Notification of Acceptance/Rejection: April 9, 2021

Abstract Submission Guidelines

All submissions must comply with the following guidelines. Failure to observe these requirements may result in the rejection of the abstract during the review process.

• Complete your submission online using the form provided here in English or here in French.
• If you have questions or problems with your submission, please contact Conference.Chair@cwra.com for assistance.
• Abstracts received after the deadline will not be considered.
• A confirmation email will be sent out after the abstract is successfully submitted.
• Do not submit an abstract on behalf of anyone other than yourself.
• Abstracts with the same title and/or content submitted under different themes will not be accepted.
• Indicate the theme of your preference for your abstract based on any of the themes listed here.
• Abstracts may be no longer than 500 words. The online submission form will only accept text.
• The National Conference technical committee will evaluate the abstracts and select the best for oral presentations and poster sessions based on abstract quality, relevance to the conference themes and content.
• A notification of acceptance will be sent by email by March 31, 2021.
• Important: At least one author/presenter of each selected abstract must register to the full online conference to present their work.
• Each participant can submit up to two abstracts as presenting author (no limitation as co-author).
• Student Qualification: An individual enrolled in at least nine (9) credit hours or the number of hours required by the institution for full-time status at an accredited educational institution.

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?