The Human Face of Water Security: A focus on vulnerable individuals and communities

Part of the Water Solutions Series

Zafar Adeel is the director of UNU-INWEH, the United Nations’ think tank on water. Adeel came to Vancouver to present a talk at SFU on how the global community can foster universal water security and speak to innovations in public policy and mobilization of resources.

Access to clean, safe water is one of the most fundamental human needs. In some cases, water security has a direct impact on conflict and terrorism. At the most basic level, it affects the sustainability of livelihoods, human wellbeing and health, environmental security, and resilience against hazards and extreme climate events. Adeel says in most cases, the greatest level of water insecurity persists with individuals and communities that are disadvantaged and socially marginalized.

For a Canadian perspective, Steve Conrad from the SFU Faculty of Environment's Pacific Water Research Centre will be linking the global water situation explained by Adeel to local and national pressures on water, particularly the First Nations struggle for clean drinking water. CBC has previously reported that two thirds of Canada’s First Nations communities have been under at least one water advisory in the past 12 years, mimicking “third world” conditions, with “chronic government underfunding” to blame. Additionally, according to Adeel, the effect climate change has on the water cycle is a prime factor impacting people’s day-to-day lives, sometimes heralding extreme floods and weather, droughts, and the consequent economic fallout of such events.

Associated Resources:


Summary of Talk

Slides from Talk


Media: CBC radio interview with Dr. Adeel: Water security a Canadian issue, not just a developing world issue

The Water Solutions event recently sponsored by the Pacific Water Research Centre, Faculty of Environment was moderated by Ingrid Stefanovic, Dean of FENV,  Steve Conrad, Associate Director of the PWRC, and Dr. Zafar Adeel, Director of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health