Buried beneath the surface of China’s plateau lakes could lie the solutions to some of the challenges currently facing the Great Lakes.
It’s one of the topics that will be discussed in Windsor this week at the 2017 Canada-China Water Science Workshop hosted by the University of Windsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research.
“In Canada, all of our lakes are less than 10,000 years old while up in China’s Plateau Lakes they are two to three million years old,” said UWindsor professor and workshop chair Doug Haffner. “We can take core samples there to look at climate change over the past million years and see the effects it’s had on watersheds and the lake’s ecology.
“We don’t have lake systems in Canada that allow us to go back in time, which is why we need this kind of collaboration.”
Researchers from Canada and China will gather in Windsor for the workshop from Monday to Friday, August 14 to 18.
Dr. Haffner, Canada Research Chair in Great Lakes Environment Health, said the 2017 Canada-China Water Science Workshop brings together a broad range of water science researchers to share expertise in freshwater resource management, develop new collaborations and plan for future joint research initiatives.
An important issue faced by both countries, Haffner said, is managing fresh water resources to handle increased agricultural pressures.
“The issue is much more critical in China than it is in Canada today, but by working with them we will be protecting ourselves in the long term by learning how to increase agricultural production, feed a growing population and protect our water resources,” Haffner said.
The workshop will include talks on issues ranging from the impact of climate change on water resources in the Great Lakes, managing invasive species and monitoring phosphorus in Lake Erie watersheds.
Haffner said one the speakers at the workshop is Zhou Huaidong, China’s former director of the Department of Water Environment. Dr. Huaidong spent more than 35 years specializing in water environment monitoring and assessment, water pollution control, aquatic environment remediation by ecological technologies and wetland science. He will present a talk at 9:20 a.m. Tuesday at the Best Western Plus Waterfront Hotel on the current situation of water pollution in China and taking actions for prevention and control.
Haffner said the Great Lakes contain 80 per cent of North America’s surface freshwater and Canada needs to be an equal partner in managing the invaluable resource.
“Forty years ago, Canada was recognized as the leader in water research, but today we are living in the past,” Haffner said. “We don’t have a national water policy and we need to develop programs that help to train our future scientists.”
Haffner said the 2017 Canada-China Water Science Workshop will help researchers in both countries find a collective voice in strengthening water research.
“Canada is a small nation, but we are treated as equals when it comes to the Great Lakes,” Haffner said. “The only way that we can protect our sovereignty is by improving the Canadian leadership in water research.”
For more information about the workshop, contact Haffner at firstname.lastname@example.org.