A Big Drop in the Bucket for Water Sustainability
It was a watershed year for sustainability research in B.C.—literally. At a time when ecosystem fragility requires a coordinated approach to conservation, a new UBC partnership is creating a ripple effect for water resource sustainability in B.C. and around the world.
UBC Resource Economics Professor John Janmaat has been appointed the Leading Edge Endowment Fund (LEEF) BC Regional Innovation Chair in Water Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability thanks to a $2.5-million endowment supported by a partnership between LEEF, the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB), the Real Estate Foundation of B.C., the Columbia Basin Trust and UBC.
The demand for water-related research and intelligence has never been greater, even in B.C. where water is in relatively abundant supply. And that’s where Janmaat comes in. “As chair, my goal is to facilitate research that helps address the challenges of sharing water here in the Okanagan, and to promote UBC’s Okanagan campus, in partnership with others in our region, as a centre of expertise to help address water resource challenges around the globe.”
As global competition for water resources heats up, careful allocation becomes even more important here at home, especially in the province’s Okanagan region, a semi-arid desert ecosystem where water is required to power everything from agriculture to tourism to residential needs.
Janmaat’s research includes tracking residential water usage, studying the Columbia Basin and developing new economic models for water management, including cross-border usage. His research will also be applied internationally, in areas like rural Nepali villages, where effective management of limited water resources is critical to keeping communities afloat.