What we can do to mitigate the impacts of nutrient pollution and algal blooms
Canada is home to a large number of lakes that play a crucial role in water supply, food production, resource extraction, hydropower generation, transportation, recreation, biodiversity and climate regulation. Despite such water wealth, climate change, agricultural intensification, shoreline development and urbanization are exerting mounting pressure on the health of the lakes, and their associated social and economic benefits. Because many of the environmental stressors affecting lake ecosystems originate in the surrounding watersheds, long-term management strategies must embrace the lake basin in its entirety.
One key issue that plagues streams and lakes of Southern Ontario every summer is algal blooms, wide mats of slime that can sometimes be poisonous. These are created by excess fertilizers that runoff from our farm fields and lawns, as well as human and animal waste that is released to the land or waterways around the lakes. Join RCIScience and Dr. Nandita Basu this Science Literacy Week to understand how the way we use our land affects the quality of waters and how we can develop strategies to improve our water quality.
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About the speaker
Dr. Nandita Basu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo. In her research, she focuses on a broad range of issues related to water in human-impacted environments. From problems of nutrient pollution in intensively farmed regions to drought in water-stressed areas of India, Nandita uses tools from environmental science, engineering and the social sciences to improve our ability to sustainably manage water resources. Dr. Basu is a recipient of the Ontario Early Researcher Award and is a member of the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo. She currently leads a $1.7M project on “Lake Futures: Enhancing Adaptive Capacity and Resilience of Lakes and their Watersheds” where she brings together natural and social scientists with regulatory agencies and conservation authorities to address water quality questions in the Great Lakes watersheds.