Nineteen influential environmental scientists from Germany will participate in a water protection research seminar Thursday as part of a four-day visit to the University of Waterloo.

The newly created Water Institute at Waterloo will host the delegation from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, one of the largest research institutions in Europe. Waterloo will also sign a memorandun of understanding with the Leipzig-based centre, part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.

“The Helmholtz Centre is globally influential in many areas, particularly in the area of water, and it is very significant for the University of Waterloo to establish a collaborative partnership with this centre,” said David Rudolph, executive and scientific director of the Water Institute at Waterloo. “By integrating the research expertise within both institutions, interdisciplinary collaborative projects will be established to focus on resolving water challenges at the global scale.”

The research seminar, which will explore Ontario’s water protection plans, takes place Thursday afternoon at the Centre for Environment and Information Technology building, room 1015.      

Speakers will include Eric Hodgins, manager water services, Regional Municipality of Waterloo; Lorrie Minshall, senior manager, Grand River Conservation Authority; Ian Smith, director, source water protection, Ontario Ministry of the Environment; and Georg Teutsch, director, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. 

The Canadian speakers will discuss the development of the source water protection initiative in Ontario, the current status of activities across the province and the challenges in moving forward. Teutsch will present an overview of the German water research program related to watershed management.

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At 4:50 p.m., a formal signing of the memorandum of understanding will take place between the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ and the Water Institute, University of Waterloo.

The agreement calls for collaboration in the areas of water science, technology and governance. One goal is to establish a Canada-Germany water alliance based on watershed scale research. Research will focus mainly on studies in the Grand River watershed and the TERENO watershed facililities in Germany.

Participating in the signing will be Georg Witschel, German ambassador to Canada; Georg Teutsch, director, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research; and Feridun Hamdullahpur, vice-president, academic and provost, University of Waterloo. 

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