Press release

International experts gather to discuss ways to manage rising demand for water, energy and food

April 29, 2012

WINNIPEG—April 30, 2012—Leading international experts, scientists and decision-makers on water, energy and food security are meeting this week to examine how large river basins influence global water, energy and food security, at a forum hosted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development's Water Innovation Centre (WIC) in collaboration with the Global Water System Project (GWSP) in Winnipeg.

According to the World Economic Forum, global demand for water, energy and food is expected to rise between 30 and 50 per cent in the next 20 years. Recognizing the interconnection between these three dimensions is critical to the success of short- and long-term planning required to deal with the anticipated shortages of fresh water. Water shortages will hamper economic development and create large-scale environmental damage and social unrest.

The conference will focus on innovations from large river basins around the world, including governance innovation, technology innovation, bioeconomy innovation and case studies that demonstrate the integration of water, energy and food security as drivers and outcomes of basin management.

In many regions water is a determining factor on energy and food security through multiple pathways including drought and flooding, irrigation, bioenergy, hydropower and thermal power production.

The conference sessions include an overview of WIC's Lake Winnipeg Bioeconomy Project and case studies on integrated approaches to water, energy and food security in major basins based on a GWSP survey. The survey included studies of the Amudarya, Danube, Jordan, Nile, Rio de la Plata, Nile, and Lake Winnipeg basins, among others.

WIC has built on its international research and experience in global and regional watershed management to develop and implement bioeconomy solutions that address water, energy and food security in the context of Canada–United States transboundary issues in the Lake Winnipeg Basin.

Speakers include:

Howard Wheater: Canada Excellence Research Chair in Water Security

Janos Bogardi: executive officer of the Global Water System Project

Slobodan Simonovic: Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Bradley Doorn: Agriculture, Carbon, and Water Applications, NASA

David Brooks: senior associate, IISD

Claudia Pahl-Wostl: University of Osnabrück, Germany

Jim Bruce: consultant (Ottawa) and former assistant deputy minister at Environment Canada


Please contact IISD public affairs manager Nona Pelletier for more information: +1 (204) 958-7740, mobile +1 (204) 962-1303 or email

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.