Third Annual McMaster Spring Water Forum

Anyone interested in human health, water security, or water and resource policy is welcome to attend this free event.

By Brittney Borowiec
Published April 05, 2016

The birds are chirping in Cootes Paradise, the sun is shining over Bayfront Park, and Westdale coffee shops are packed with students cramming for exams. It's time for the Third Annual McMaster Spring Water Forum!

The Forum is this year's first big event for the McMaster Water Network, an interdisciplinary initiative to connect water science, technology, and policy to make positive global and local impacts.

The Spring Water Forum is an "agenda-setting" event intended to identify pressing water-related policy challenges, and discuss how McMaster research, education and partnerships are responding to these challenges. Participants include McMaster faculty, students, alumni, and community partners.

The Spring Water Forum is the opening event of Climate Change: Navigating from Risk to Resilience (April 18-22), a week showcasing how McMaster research can help build clean, smart, and sustainable 21st century communities. You can find out more about all the exciting events in the city.

On Monday, April 18th from 12 to 8 PM, McMaster University's David Braley Health Sciences Centre (located at 100 Main Street West) will be buzzing with keynote talks, panels, and student poster presentations.

Event Schedule

Great Lakes Cafe (12:00 PM to 2:00 PM)

Dr. Gail Krantzberg (Professor, McMaster University) and Karen Kun (Executive Director, Waterlution) will discuss the first community engagement workshop on Celebrating the Great Lakes in this casual event. Café organizers hope to solicit public input, ideas, and creativity into their plans for Celebrate our Great Lakes Day, happening in Toronto this October.

Keynote Speaker: Confronting Climate Uncertainty in Water Resources Planning and Project Design with Dr. Patrick Ray (2:00 PM to 2:30 PM)

Dr. Ray will discuss innovations in the analysis of sustainable water resource development, and how these advances can help communities manage the water security risks presented by climate change.

Dr. Patrick Ray is a Research Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has also served as a private consultant for the World Bank, the World Food Program, the UN Development Program, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

He is interested in water system development alternatives and improvements, especially in the context of climate change. His research includes systems in the Brahmaputra River basin and California's Central Valley, as well as proposed water system investments in South Asia, East Africa, and Latin America.

Panel #1: Water Resilient Cities (2:30 PM to 3:45 PM)

Increasingly, our urban world must contend with extreme climate events, demanding both technical solutions and policy action. This panel uses systemic risk and risk management to bridge the gap between technological solutions and institutional paths to urban water security. Panelists will includes representatives of McMaster University, Hamilton Water, UNU-INWEH, and the Canadian Water Network.

Panel #2: Drinking Water Security and Health (4:15 PM to 5:45 PM)

The water crisis in Flint, MI, underscores the consequences of drinking water insecurity on public health. What impact can McMaster research, education, and partnerships have on water insecurity in both urban and rural communities? This panel examines Canada's readiness to address the risks of drinking water insecurity through the lessons and implications of the Flint water crisis.

Includes a stimulus presentation from Dr. Bu Lam (Canadian Water Network) on the challenge of water security in cities.

Keynote Speaker: The Flint Water Crisis: Policy Lessons for Protecting Our Drinking Water with Dr. Yanna Lambrinidou (6:00 PM to 7:00 PM)

Dr. Lambrinidou will discuss the Flint water crisis, and its disturbing parallels to the lead-in-water crisis in Washington, DC from 2001 to 2004. She will argue that neither Flint nor Washington are outliers in terms of lead levels at the tap and health harm, and that contamination events are related to science, politics, policy and culture. You can see the full talk abstract.

Dr. Yanna Lambrinidou is an affiliate faculty in Science and Technology in Society at Virginia Tech, and founder of Parents for Non-toxic Alternatives, a not-for-profit children's environmental health organization.

Recently, Dr. Lambrinidou testified at the US House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hearing on "The Flint Water Crisis: Lessons for Protecting America's Children," and currently serves on the state's Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee to develop long-term, health- and consumer-centered solutions to Flint's drinking water crisis.

For more information on this event, please contact Dr. Savitri Jetoo via

Student Posters & Reception (7:00 PM to 8:00 PM)

Come see some current water-related research projects at McMaster, presented by students from a range of levels.

The entire event is free! Anyone interested in human health, water security, or water and resource policy is welcome to attend! For further information and event registration, please visit the event website.

For all updates, like the McMaster Water Network Student Chapter on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter @MacWaterNet and Instagram @MacWaterNetSC. Students who are interested in volunteering for future events are encourage to contact the McMaster Water Network Student Chapter via

Brittney Borowiec is a PhD Candidate at McMaster University, researching the environmental physiology of killifish. She is a Social Media Coordinator for the McMaster Water Network Student Chapter.


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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 05, 2016 at 10:07:25

Let’s imagine that Hamilton’s water supply was treated the same way by City Council as they do traffic violence. This means that there would be a formal public consultation in which we would get asked things such as:

In order to help us allocate scarce budget dollars, please rank in order of priority your preference for contracting each of the following water-bourne diseases: 1. Cholera 2. Typhus 3. Dysentery

After the public consultation is over, Hamilton City Council would pass a “Vision Zero” resolution for contracting water-bourne diseases. But not actually provide the money for waterworks to prevent these diseases.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 05, 2016 at 10:59:26 in reply to Comment 117457

And there would be a debate about whether it was utopian and a poor use of scarce tax dollars to adopt a Vision Zero policy for tap water deaths.

Debate would centre on the marginal cost of getting to zero deaths ... what if it cost $100,000,000,000.00 to eliminate the last annual e coli or cholera death from our drinking water?

In any case, people will always do stupid things (like using dirty containers for clean tap water or drinking from puddles) and they would probably just die from food poisoning anyway. We've lived with epidemics from unsafe water for thousands of years, it's probably unavoidable. We should be content with 20-30 tap water deaths per year and 2000-3000 illnesses. Imagine the cost in dollars and convenience of rebuilding our water treatment and distribution network to eliminate these deaths!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-04-05 11:01:31

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 06, 2016 at 07:28:15 in reply to Comment 117459

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 09, 2016 at 14:28:48 in reply to Comment 117479

Definitely related..

And yes, this is proof positive that I am a Marxist.

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By highasageorgiapine (registered) | Posted April 05, 2016 at 11:05:38 in reply to Comment 117459

let's be honest, this is how all levels of government make decisions about all public infrastructure and services now.

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By zing (anonymous) | Posted April 05, 2016 at 10:10:17 in reply to Comment 117457


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