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Prof. Margaret Catley-Carlson

IDRC Governor and Chair of the Global Water Partnership

Margaret Catley-Carlson, IDRC Governor and Chair of the Global Water Partnership, has been appointed a Trudeau Foundation Mentor. Ms. Catley-Carlson joins other accomplished Canadians ― such as award-winning Globe and Mail correspondent, Stephanie Nolen, and former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Frank Iacobucci ― in working with Trudeau Foundation Scholars, who are outstanding doctoral candidates in the social sciences and humanities. The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation was created in 2003 in honour of the late former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Each year the foundation awards 15 doctoral students a scholarship and pairs them with a mentor. Ms. Catley-Carlson was first appointed to IDRC’s Board in 1984. She is currently serving a fourth non-consecutive term. She currently chairs or serves on a number of international boards that work for the better management of national and international problems related to freshwater, environmental protection, and development finance. For more information, visit: Read an interview with Ms. Catley-Carlson

Presentation Abstract:
There is a real crisis in water. Water tables are declining; many rivers no longer reach the sea. Too many freshwater aquatic species are in peril. Deltas and wetlands are disappearing. Aquifer water levels are falling. Water quality everywhere is in decline, nowhere more so than in the burgeoning cities of the developing world where the major part of the world's population will live after the first decade of the 21st century. More than one billion people do not have consistent access to freshwater and more than twice that number lack access to sanitation. These are problems that have particular relevance for women, especially women in poor communities. Women’s ability to feed their families, keep them healthy, maintain a safe environment and to live in healthy communities – all of this depends on water. Although there are real water shortages in some areas, most of these are problems of poor management. Good science will help solve some water issues, particularly in agriculture, if water is managed in such a way that there are incentives to change. Women can play an enormous role in both of these. We need god science to guide us….(a few examples)

  • Science must guide us so that water use in agriculture must maximize the crop per drop.
  • Crops must be developed to withstand the stress of drought.
  • We must be able to monitor, measure and govern groundwater use.
  • Good science and technology will allow us to capture the nutrients from used water which help crop production and facilitate water recycling
  • The institutions and participatory frameworks needed to manage both are similar and should be shared, especially where multiple jurisdictions are concerned.
    Meeting Demands for Water Security needs the Social Science – and new wisdom
  • Quality and quantity will increasingly depend on non-structural solutions
  • Rethinking the demands and current uses of water is imperative
  • Solutions to current and coming crises will not be found in new and extraordinary technological advances.
  • Problem: how to change our attitudes and ways of using and managing water.

Status: Confirmed