3rd Annual GWF 2020 Annual Open Science Meeting: Predicting and Achieving Sustainable Water Futures

May 11 - 13, 2020 | Waterloo (ON), Canada


Due to the COVID-19 outbreak the GWF Strategic Management Committee has decided on an alternative “virtual” event in the form of published abstracts, an online poster session, with the possibility of presenting a lightning talk (short video) on the posters, an online policy panel discussion, and a short series of online plenary presentations that relate to the conference themes.

The 2020 Global Water Futures (GWF) Third Annual Open Science Meeting will bring together the broader GWF community (researchers, affiliates, partners, collaborators, and stakeholders) to share and celebrate our achievements, examine and learn from our progress, inform and deliver end user solutions, and plan and build on momentum for the next phase of GWF.


  1. Highlight state-of-the-art GWF water research, catalyze synergies, and continue shaping Canada’s water future.
    At GWF2020, projects will share their advances and achievements in inter- and trans-disciplinary water research on the complex interactions between climate, hydrology, ecosystems and humans. Researchers will come together to explore synergies and collaborations across projects and disciplines, and to strengthen connections that address GWF’s priorities.
  2. Explore evidence-based options and solutions for responding to water challenges and risks in a changing climate.
    GWF2020 will assess the progress made towards developing adaptive water management policies and practices in Canada that respond to ongoing and emerging risks and challenges.
  3. Facilitate knowledge mobilization and dialogue across sectors and stakeholders by strengthening relationships between GWF researchers and end users.
    GWF2020 will be an interactive platform where GWF researchers and external stakeholders, including end users, partners, and decision-makers, translate research into practice and policy.
  4. Build bridges between different knowledge systems and advance research co-creation with Indigenous projects.
    GWF2020 will provide the opportunity to enhance relationships with Indigenous partners and end users, and to integrate Indigenous knowledge and co-creation practices in GWF research.
  5. Support career development of young water researchers.
    At GWF2020, the 500+ GWF Young Professionals (GWF-YP) will participate in networking activities and training sessions to enhance their skills and professional development.


  1. Increased awareness of the advances in water research that GWF enables.
  2. Increased synergies and linkages among GWF researchers and across projects.
  3. Increased recognition of evidence-based solutions and tools for managing water risks in Canada.
  4. Increased engagement with GWF stakeholders, partners and end users that supports translation of research into practice and policy.
  5. Increased inclusion of Indigenous partners and their knowledge systems into research co-creation.
  6. Increased skills and networking opportunities for GWF-YP.


  1. Climate-driven changes of water environments in cold regions
    This theme will examine how climate change will shape future water security in cold regions. Addressing the projected changes in hydrology, biogeochemical cycles and ecological functions, this theme will explore the cascading impacts of climate change in cold environments and propose adaptive and integrated management solutions.
  2. From anthropogenic pressures to ecosystem services
    This theme will examine the complex interactions between human activities and ecosystem services. Addressing a range of interconnected issues related to anthropogenic disturbances of water environments, this theme will explore the impacts on the state and function of aquatic ecosystems, and the responses required to safeguard and restore the services they provide.
  3. Turning research into policy and management solutions
    This theme will explore options for translating water research, from the natural, social and health sciences, into concrete and relevant policy and management solutions. Addressing how to effectively respond to water risks and adapt in the face of uncertainty, this theme will examine how adopting new or improved practices and tools enhances evidence-based policy and decision-making.
  4. Innovations in water science and technology
    This theme will examine advances in water science and technology and the challenges facing knowledge mobilization and technology transfer. Addressing the increased need for and access to data-supported information and advanced analytics, this theme will explore innovations in the collection and use of environmental data and the potential to revolutionize decision-making for water management.
  5. Knowledge co-creation with Indigenous communities
    This theme will examine the role of Indigenous co-led and co-produced research in shaping a shared water future. Addressing the need for inclusive solutions and policies that reflect different knowledge systems, this theme will explore co-created research, the co-learning of different knowledges, and the experience of different communities working together towards shared water management solutions.

The themes are supported by the following cross-cutting challenges and opportunities:

  1. Transferable knowledge and tools
  2. Predictive modelling and forecasting
  3. (Big) data science and management
  4. Social, economic and health determinants and impacts
  5. Stakeholder engagement and knowledge mobilization

For more information visit the official website https://uwaterloo.ca/global-water-futures-annual-science-meeting/.

Background image courtesy of Alec, “Frozen Waterfall