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$600,000 for research will help GRCA agencies learn about water quality

CAMBRIDGE - The Canadian Water Network is making $600,000 available to the Grand River Conservation Authority and other organizations to get a better understanding of water quality issues in the Grand River watershed.

The money will allow researchers to better understand the factors affecting water quality and predict impacts on river health of population growth and climate change.

“The grant will allow us to bring together some of the brightest minds in the country to determine the best way to measure changes to the Grand River watershed in an integrated fashion,” said Barbara Veale, co-ordinator of policy planning and partnerships.

The GRCA and other agencies already study water quality. The research will help them pull the information together and develop tools to analyze how water quality may change in the future. For example, how much would water quality improve if sewage treatment plants were upgraded, small dams are removed, or more is done to control farm runoff?

The knowledge would give decision makers a way to assess the potential impact of investments or other changes in the way the river is managed.

The information will be used to help develop an up-to-date water management plan for the watershed. That plan is to be developed by 2013 and will consider water quality, water supply, and flooding issues.

The Canadian Water Network will oversee the spending of the grant money in conjunction with a group called the Grand River Watershed Research Consortium. The consortium consists of the GRCA and 18 government and non-government partners. About $200,000 will be available each year over the next three years.

“The commitment of our partners to this process will enable us to take what’s learned and apply it to management decisions to improve the health of the watershed,” said Veale.

The Canadian Water Network, based at the University of Waterloo, was established by the federal government as one of its National Centres of Excellence to strengthen the country’s research capacity, build partnerships, and translate discoveries and advances into economic prosperity and a better quality of life.

The Grand River group is one of four across the country to receive grants under the network’s current program. The others are groups doing research in the Northumberland Strait in New Brunswick, Tobacco Creek in Manitoba, and the Muskoka watershed in Ontario.



July 8, 2011


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