Northern Canada is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth. Climate change is dramatically changing hydrology in the North, affecting bodies of water, permafrost, snow cover, and many systems that rely on water, including forests, transportation, agriculture and community health.
The Northern Water Futures (NWF) project is a direct response to water security challenges posed by climate change in the North. NWF is a Northwest Territories-focused consortium of knowledge producers, mobilizers and users from communities, government, industry, non-governmental organizations and universities, working collaboratively to understand, predict and address the impacts of climate change and industrial expansion on shared water resources across the Northwest Territories.
The project, which received $2 million in funding from Global Water Futures, will take a leading role in sustainable development in the North through science-based environmental prediction models, decision support tools and mitigation strategies that will lead to prudent investment and knowledge-based community adaptation. NWF is co-led by Laurier associate professors Jennifer Baltzer and William Quinton. Baltzer, of the Department of Biology, is Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Forests and Global Change. Quinton, of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, is director of Laurier’s Cold Regions Research Centre.
In addition to Baltzer and Quinton, there are 20 co-investigators from seven universities involved in the project, including seven from Laurier. The 22 collaborators include experts from other universities, from various levels of government and government agencies, from Northwest Territories First Nations, and from civil society organizations.
The project will make use of an existing network of 12 living laboratories and 19 supporting sites spread throughout Northwest Canada. These will be greatly enhanced during the project, with Laurier’s Changing Arctic Network (CANet), funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, supporting the enhancements.
Andrew Spring, Research Associate, Northern Canada Knowledge Networks
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