Improving Water Quality With Novel Diagnostics: Policy Brief on the Potential Use of Metagenomics for Improved Water Quality Testing

Scientists at universities and public health institutions across Canada, including the BC Centers for Disease Control Public Health Laboratory, are using metagenomics to study the microbial communities in the water in order to develop new tests to assess water quality. Metagenomics has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of how perturbations in these microbial communities are linked to water quality with ramifications for drinking water and other applications. Although chemical pollution is not a focus of the current research, the state of these microbial communities can also indicate whether chemical or other contamination has occurred (e.g., temperature or other biophysical changes also shift the composition and function of these microbial communities).

Compiled by:

GE3LS Research Team: Dr. Leila Harris and Dr. Natalie Prystajecky (CoChairs), Dr. Natalie Henrich, Dr. Bev Holmes, Dr. Karen Bakker, Gemma Dunn, Ida Ngueng Feze, Dr. Yann Joly, Prof. Bartha Knoppers, Stanislav Birko, Edward S. Dove, Dr. Vural Ozdemir. Watershed Metagenomics

Project leaders: Dr. Patrick Tang and Dr. Judith Isaac-Renton

University of British Columbia, June 16, 2017

Policy Brief – Improving Water Quality with Novel Diagnostics

Article: Urban water demand, climatic variation, and irrigation-water insecurity: interactive stressors and lessons for water governance from the Angat River basin (Philippines)

Climatic variation and intersectoral water competition increasingly challenge the effective provision of irrigation services. This article explores their combined effects on irrigation allocation from the Angat Reservoir (Philippines), where domestic water use in Metro Manila has overtaken regional irrigation as the dominant right-holder. Rules protecting Metro Manila’s large right to water ‘interact’ with dry spells to affect irrigation security in wet and dry seasons. Historically, irrigators were uncompensated because re-allocation’s cause was contested as (1) an unforeseeable climatic event (releasing domestic utilities of liability), or (2) produced by urban demand (requiring compensation). Trade-off rules must be prepared to navigate combinatory effects.

Shah, S. H., & Zerriffi, H. (2017). Urban water demand, climatic variation, and irrigation-water insecurity: Interactive stressors and lessons for water governance from the angat river basin (philippines). Water International, 42(5), 543. doi:10.1080/02508060.2017.1342073

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