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The feds are making an investment in water quality research at the Universities of Lethbridge and Saskatchewan.Today’s investment totals $3.75 million and will go towards research projects that will ultimately assist organizations in making environmentally-responsible decisions aimed at preserving water quality. Environment Canada will provide more than $1.5 million of in-kind support and Western Economic Diversification will provide $2.25 million.

“Access to and sharing of water and land use information and knowledge remains one of the most significant challenges to the development of responsible management policies and plans,” said University of Lethbridge president and vice-chancellor Dr. Bill Cade. “The Water and Environmental Sciences Hub will be used by governments, industry, academia and the public to make more-informed decisions regarding water and will create a better understanding of this resource.”

“This collaborative project, which draws on outstanding research talent from our new School of Environment and Sustainability, the Saskatchewan Research Council, and Environment Canada, will not only have practical application for environmentally sound policy decisions around location of power plants, but will strengthen Canada’s competitive edge as a global leader in water resource technology, training and innovation,” said Karen Chad, University of Saskatchewan VP of Research.

The projects complement Environment Canada’s commitment to the Global Environment Monitoring System Water Programme (GEMS/Water) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), an international water science program that develops and maintains a global freshwater quality information system for use by all United Nations members. The program received additional federal funding last year.

In Alberta, the University of Lethbridge will lead the establishment of the Water Resource Technology Initiative (WRTI), a group that will initially develop the Water Hub, an interactive web-based platform that will be a repository for water data, mapping and imagery, and environmental science data. Information from the Water Hub will be available to help organizations develop water resource technologies.

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At the University of Saskatchewan, researchers will develop software that can be used as a decision-support tool to help energy developers make environmentally-responsible decisions on power plant locations by determining the impact of power plants or other power-generating technologies on water quantity and quality in the area. Once developed, the software will be marketed to utility companies, power generation equipment suppliers and governments.

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