The Program on Water Issues (POWI) at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto was formed in 2001 to provide opportunities for members of the private, public, academic, and not-for-profit sectors to join in collaborative research, dialogue, and education on critical and emerging freshwater issues.

Since its formation POWI has worked collaboratively with experts, institutions, agencies and NGOs to conduct research, develop discussion papers and host conferences on a range of important and freshwater issues including:

  • Restructuring of water and wastewater services (2002)
  • Groundwater in North America (2002) and the Great Lakes Basin (2003)
  • Groundwater permitting and pricing in Canada (2005)
  • Great Lakes water use, diversion and bulk water export (2004 and 2005)
  • Water, energy and North American integration (2007)
  • The impacts of oil sands development on the Athabasca River (2007)
  • The downstream impacts of oil sands development on the Great Lakes (2008)
  • A Model Act for preserving Canada’s waters from bulk export (2008)
  • The impacts of carbon capture and storage on groundwater (2009)
  • The impacts of shale gas development on water (2010)
  • Environmental monitoring of oil sands development (2011)
  • The future of the Columbia River Treaty (2012)
  • Climate change, freshwater and the role of science (2012)
  • Groundwater: The need to map, monitor and manage Canada’s groundwater resources (2013)
  • The Columbia River Treaty: Protocols for adaptive water governance (2014)
  • Water and hydraulic fracturing: Risk to groundwater, water stress and transparency and disclosure to minimize water risks (2014)
  • Groundwater management in Canada (2015)
  • Financing groundwater mapping and monitoring in Canada (2015)

In 2007, POWI established the Canadian Water Issues Council (CWIC), a group of Canada’s most knowledgeable water experts, to provide advice on critical water issues with a focus on transboundary issues.

POWI and members of CWIC have made presentations on water issues to the Library of Parliament, Standing Committees of the House, parliamentarians, the Office of the Auditor General and others. POWI has also hosted meetings and briefings for the US Ambassador to Canada and the Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development of Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

Read more about the history of the Program on Water Issues in “Watermarks: Perspective on 10 Years”.