Number of partners
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
City Manager, City of Coquitlam (British Columbia)
Canada’s worst-ever outbreak of E. coli contamination in Walkerton, Ontario in 2000 refocused the attention of legislators and scientists on the country’s water challenges: protecting public health, a growing “infrastructure deficit” (currently estimated at about $80 billion), and the environmental impact of increasing development and demand for resources. Ensuring Canada has safe, clean and abundant water is an ongoing priority for all levels of government. That’s why in 2000 Canada launched a national effort – the largest ever undertaken – to connect resources, people and knowledge to help decision-makers access and apply the most relevant research available to manage these risks.
The Canadian Water Network has become a catalyst for improving linkages between researchers and diverse stakeholders responsible for public health, protecting watersheds and ecosystems, and ensuring sustainable water infrastructure. Each year CWN supports some 120 academic researchers, over 150 collaborators and partners, and over 160 graduate students. These efforts have improved policy and practice related to managing Canada’s water resources. CWN sunsets as an NCE in 2015, but the collaborative models and decision-making processes it has established, along with its research activities, will continue with the support of multiple funders, including those supporting CWN through its Canadian Municipal Water Consortium.