Healthy Water Ecosystems

A One Health at UCalgary working group

Water is a precious resource; consequently, access to safe water and sanitation is critical for health and security. Protecting aquatic ecosystems and providing clean water is essential for limiting the spread of contaminants, pathogens and antimicrobial resistant genes among humans and from humans to the environment. Changing hydrological conditions associated with climate change, intensification of agriculture and expanding industrial activities and water requirements threaten availability, sustainability and overall quality of clean water and the plants and animals that depend on it. Aquatic ecosystems are impacted by development and land use changes, exploitation of underground aquifers and contamination by waste and discharges from humans, agriculture, and industry. It is expected that water scarcity and flooding will lead to increased transboundary conflicts associated with water availability and contaminant transfer.

People and all other biota cannot live without water. Healthy aquatic ecosystems are essential to replenishing the supply of water and maintaining aquatic biodiversity. Resilient aquatic environments are essential for ensuring greater natural sustainability for the benefit of people and all life forms. Protection of water ecosystems is a complex global health and sustainability issue.

A One Health approach is very relevant to the imperative of protecting the quality of water and the health of animals and people dependent on it.

Healthy Water Ecosystems

Develop integrative strategies to recover and protect global water ecosystems

Identified Healthy Water Ecosystems Grand Challenges

Developing and implementing holisitic approaches, from technologies to policy, that ensure a healthy, secure, and sustainable water supply for our communities, economy, and environment;

Developing a sustainable and integrated monitoring and management framework for water ecosystems to improve the health of people, plants, and animals depending on it.

Identifying, assessing, and mitigating the adverse impacts of human activities on water ecosystems.