The Future of Water Workshop Series was Waterlution’s initial program, launched in 2006. This community-based series brings together outstanding young leaders, aged 18-35 years, to engage in exploration of regional water issues through inspirational, experiential and interactive, weekend-long workshops. To-date, Waterlution has hosted over 53 workshops in 30 communities across Canada (9 provinces and 2 territories), directly engaging 3000 youth and over 350 resource guests.

Each workshop is focused on specific regional water themes relevant to the surrounding area; designed with emphasis on leadership development, systems change theory, inter-generational sharing and interdisciplinary collaboration.

“Waterlution workshops allow for discussion and shared learning. Instead of boring lectures, we are out there in the field experiencing the issues.” 
– Participant, The Future of Water Workshop Series, 2009.

“I would recommend Waterlution to anyone! Even if water isn’t a passion of theirs, the connections and networks and overall experience of critical thinking is worth it.” 
– Participant, The Future of Water Workshop Series, 2009.

Past Workshops


The Future of the Oil Sands in Quebec

In the spring of 2014, a series of three workshops were held in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver on the future of oil sands. The young participants in these workshops have developed various scenarios of possible developments of the oil sands in Canada. This workshop was an opportunity to discover and discuss these scenarios with expert guests to further develop these plausible scenarios on what the oil sands of the future could look like by 2025.

The Oil Sands of the Future

Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal
We invite you to participate in a scenario-planning project on the future of the oil sands. The objective of these workshops is to bring together young people – our leaders of tomorrow – to take a collaborative look at the big picture to uncover social, cultural, economic and environmental regional impacts, surrounding the oil sands industry.


From Water Challenges to Water Champions: Developing a Prosperous Future

October 4-6
Deemerton, ON
The Water Challenges to Water Champions weekend workshop will explore Walkerton’s journey from water infamy to
excellence and the numerous opportunities to develop new technologies and protocols to address our twenty-first century
water needs. What is Walkerton’s niche amongst the numerous communities, organizations and countries vying to develop
water technologies? What is the path from water challenges to marketable innovations and how might you and your peers be part of the journey through the Walkerton Open Water Systems (WOWS) development?

Creative Disruptive (Water) Leadership

May 31-June 2
Wyebridge, ON
Great leaders learn to develop a capacity to navigate through complexity, to facilitate collaboration and to disrupt when the
time is right. This workshop will focus on offering important techniques to move you along the spectrum of your
leadership journey. We will offer you the inspiration and tools to become more creative, more innovative, and to build your
leadership potential. Leading as learners, participants are invited to bring their projects and challenges to work with throughout the workshop weekend.

Our Water is Our Life – A dialogue and action weekend to look at the future of water for Aboriginal communities

March 1-3
Thorsby, Alberta
Waterlution believes we are at a critical junction to mobilize action to protect water, especially given the recent changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act on the federal level. Western Canada’s water is under stress from development, population growth and a changing climate. First Nation and rural communities in particular have a deep connection to their water and want innovative ideas to keep it clean and accessible. Let’s use our combined knowledge and the current momentum in support of Aboriginal people to further explore how to implement positive change by fostering opportunities for a healthy water relationship and economic opportunities.


CSR for the Bluer Good: Moving Towards a Sustainable Economy

November 24-26
Bragg Creek, AB
The program will focus specifically on industry, as it is Canada’s biggest water user. There is great potential for increased
water efficiency across industries and Canada needs decision-makers with the knowledge and motivation to achieve this.
Individual stakeholders, institutional investors, and consumers are increasingly looking to environmental management and
resource use as an indicator of sector viability. Waterlution is pleased to bring together the latest research and metrics with
water and business leaders for this workshop. Join us to develop the skills of young Canadian leaders in water, business
and related fields about what Canada’s corporations are doing, and how they can continue to improve their practices into
the future.

Waterlution – An Okanagan Experience

September 28-30
West Kelowna, BC
The Okanagan is one of Canada’s driest watersheds – an ideal location to host a dialogue that focuses on real water issues, the process of leadership, collaborative learning and communication. The Waterlution Okanagan experience will provide you with an opportunity to learn about a range of water perspectives and practical leadership processes.

Gathering on the Ghost: High Demand at the Source

June 22-24
Cochrane, Alberta
The purpose of this workshop is to provide future leaders with the tools, insight and connections to promote sustainable water management in a source region watershed. Through experiential field tours (related to source water, logging and wetlands) the group will be exposed to key issues, and mentors who are actively engaged in the topics. The group will then explore, through interactive dialogue and group activities, innovative ideas for sustainable change within the region.

Water & Spirituality: An Interfaith Dialogue on Water

May 11-13
Edmonton, AB
For many human populations water is a sacred component of cultures, traditions and teachings throughout the world. We will examine the foundational ethics behind spirituality and stewardship through multiple perspectives (Aboriginal teachings, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism). Water is a vulnerable entity in the 21st that demands an assessment of how spirituality directly, or indirectly, influences water governance.

Stewardship and Stimulus: Maintaining the Balance for Lake Simcoe

May 4-6
Georgina Island, ON
Balancing local needs, cultural traditions and economic prosperity are well-known struggles for Lake Simcoe, especially while trying to maintain ecological health. Engaged and active communities, committed efforts and the innovative Lake Simcoe Protection Plan have improved ecosystem health. But has the Plan adequately stimulated its proposed action on improving the Lake’s water quality and ability to support vibrant communities? Join us as we explore the present status of the Lake Simcoe watershed and envision how to reach the desired watershed of our future.

Living Within a Watershed: Creating Urban Water Systems That Go With The Flow

March 9-11
Maple Ridge, BC
This workshop is to explore the application of integrated watershed management best practices in Vancouver’s Lower Mainland. Through experimental field tours, interactive dialogue session, mentoring and visioning exercises participants will share their perspectives on storm water management, waste water management, water conservation, point source pollution, watershed restoration and other key topics that support functioning watersheds.


One Watershed, Many Voices: The Ottawa River and Transboundary Challenges

November 25-27
Ottawa, ON
The purpose of this experiential workshop is to build the capacity of current and future leaders to design sustainable solutions to transboundary water issues. The workshop will facilitate relationships between diverse stakeholders, equip leaders with the knowledge to understand pressing issues, and aim to promote a passion for healthy watersheds among the region’s leaders of tomorrow. With expert guidance from Ottawa Riverkeeper, the group will learn about innovative initiatives and explore ways to overcome complex issues through multi-stakeholder dialogue. Field visits on and around the river will give participants a firsthand perspective on how human activities affect the river and how various communities are involved in its management. As the Ottawa River faces increased challenges from climate change, urbanization and development, now is the time to get tomorrow’s decision-makers involved.

Water & Agriculture: A Workshop for Saskatchewan’s Future Leaders

November 11-13
Craik, Saskatchewan
The purpose of this workshop is to provide future Saskatchewan leaders with the tools, insight and connections to promote sustainable water resource and watershed management. Using inspired problem solving amongst the group, we will work together and explore solutions to effectively manage the water resources within the Central Saskatchewan region. Through experiential field tours (related to agriculture, flooding and wetlands) the group will be exposed to key issues, and mentors who are changing the tide by implementing land-based solutions. The group will then explore, through interactive dialogue and group activities, innovative ideas for sustainable change within the region.

Pollution & Solutions: Leadership for the Interlake

November 4-6
Arnes, MB
The purpose of this workshop is to provide current and future Manitoban leaders with the tools, insight and connections to promote sustainable water resource and watershed management. Using inspired problem solving amongst the group, we will work together and explore solutions to effectively manage the water resources within the Lake Winnipeg and Interlake region. Through experiential field tours (related to agriculture, flooding and wetlands) the group will be exposed to mentors who are changing the tide by implementing land-based solutions. The group will then explore, through interactive dialogue and group activities, innovative ideas for sustainable change within the region.

Water & Growth: Exploring Prosperity, Protection and Paradox along the Niagara Escarpment

October 28-30
Milton, ON
The purpose of this workshop is to develop informed future leaders with a passion for, and commitment to, healthy water resources and watersheds. The relationship between economic growth and ecosystem protection is highly visible in the Halton Region, home to part of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. This area has great value in terms of its wealth of biodiversity, resources and its role in recharging source water aquifers. As communities and industries flourish, water resources are stressed and stakeholder livelihoods threatened. How do we balance the needs of the ecosystem with the needs of a growing population? The paradox of watershed protection and growth will be explored during this three-day residential workshop for young Canadian leaders.

Climate Change Impacts in New Brunswick: Shifting from Mitigation to Adaptation

October 28-30
Sussex to Saint John, NB
The Maritimes have experienced an increasing number of severe weather events over the past years. The most recent, in December 2010, resulted in extensive spring-like flooding of watersheds that have not previously experienced (in written and oral memory) such significant flooding events. Coastal areas had unprecedented damage to the natural and built environment as a result of the weather and associated storm surge. This is a clear we must think about the reality of a changing climate in a different way and must be prepared for any number of impending impacts. The people of the Maritime Provinces are in full-on survival mode now. The Waterlution Maritime Workshop 2011 will concentrate on how natural and human communities are shifting from mitigation to adaptation (or not) of climate change impacts.

Water & Community: The Bay of Quinte Watershed

October 21-23
Tyendinaga and Demorestville, ON
The Bay of Quinte watershed is 18 000 km2 along the north shores of Lake Ontario and has great cultural, ecological, recreational, and industrial importance. In the past, water resources in the area were severely degraded by excessive nutrients and contaminants. Other environmental concerns were habitat destruction or loss for fish and wildlife. Gradually, ecosystem health in the region is improving due to initiatives and efforts made by diverse organizations. Join us in discussing progress that has been made in the Bay of Quinte region and the environmental challenges that still need to be addressed. We will highlight the importance of working collectively with partners and how the connection between water and human health can inspire communities to take action to protect water resources.

Water and Natural Gas Development in Northeast British Columbia

September 14-16
Fort Nelson, BC
The purpose of this three-day residential workshop is to engage young Canadian leaders in resource management and related fields in dialogue about water and natural gas development. The workshop will explore issues specific to natural gas extraction and the use of water and protection of groundwater. Since shale formations are tight and compressed, hydraulic fracturing is used to provide pathways through which natural gas can flow. This is a controlled operation that pumps fluids through the wellbore to target formations at high pressure in multiple intervals, or stages.

Calgary’s Changing Culture: Innovative Water Leadership

June 17-19
Calgary, AB
Calgary’s relationship with water is changing; we are forming a culture of innovation*. This workshop, designed for multi-sectoral young professionals, will inform participants on Calgary’s innovative water policy, infrastructure, and public involvement. This experience will develop tomorrow’s leaders in Calgary’s water management. Download the invitation here.

Water and Agriculture: Exploring The Future of the Okanagan Valley

June 10-12
Kelowna, BC
The Okanagan Valley makes up a quarter of BC’s agricultural economy and is a growing destination for tourists and residents alike. As the region struggles to meet its water needs, it faces numerous challenges. Summer droughts worsen as upland water retention falls victim to clear cuts, mountain pine beetle and earlier snow melts. Meanwhile, vital groundwater aquifers are tapped with virtually no regulation. We can shorten our showers and let the grass turn gold, but the elephant in the room remains; with farming accounting for more than half of the region’s freshwater consumption, how will the Okanagan’s agriculture industry evolve to ensure its continued role as a major BC food producer?

Striking a Balance: Growth and Watershed Protection on the Avalon Peninsula

June 3-5
St John’s, Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador is poised to lead Canada in economic growth this year. Booming industries foreshadow new wealth for the province. But as communities and industries flourish, water resources are stressed and those same stakeholders’ livelihoods threatened. How can we learn from other provinces and each other to effectively manage our water and guide Newfoundland towards a truly sustainable, prosperous future?

Drilling in the Oil Sands: Water Usage, Development and Innovation

May 31-June 2
Fort McMurray, AB
Participants will look closely at water usage in operations, provincial government policies, engagement of First Nations and community leaders, and how these groups work together in managing water within this intensive environment. The purpose of this workshop is to develop future leaders in water resource management and related fields.


Water, Wellness and Leadership

November 13-15
Longview, AB
The purpose of this workshop is to develop future leaders in water resource management and related fields. In addition to Waterlution’s usual workshop format, this particular event is a first for our growing partnership with Outward Bound Canada. This workshop will combine outdoor leadership building activities with inspiring discussions from speakers/mentors along with interesting small group discussions on water in Alberta.


Managing Growth, Managing Water: Workshop on Urban Planning and Water

June 6-8
Guelph, ON
“Managing Growth, Managing Water” was the second Waterlution workshop to occur in Ontario this summer. Situated in a targeted growth area, the Grand River Conservation Authority watershed, it was an ideal setting to discuss growth and water. The workshop themes were focused around population growth, land use planning and managing water supply and demand within that growth. Participants represented the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation Authorities, Pollution Probe, York University, University of Waterloo, The Chiefs of Ontario, and private consultants. The workshop focused specifically on challenges surrounding population growth and water supply. Participants had an opportunity to explore challenges and opportunities in managing a finite water supply in the ever expanding Golden Horseshoe. Site visits and presentations illustrated how various sectors were working to address growth pressures and managing water demand, wastewater, and ecological integrity. Overarching themes for this workshop included provincial policy planning, sustainable water management and technical innovation, governance.

Water & Health

May 23-25
Okotoks, BC
Water Safety & Health was the first of the 2008 Waterlution workshops to be held in Alberta. Its purpose was to increase awareness and generate discussion on the importance of water safety and health wellness in our urban water systems. The workshop focused on the importance of water sanitation and the vital role governmental regulatory policies play in supporting and maintaining a healthy and safe urban environment. Through various venues including guest presentations, group discussion, and site tours participants were challenged to explore different water issues that connect to and impact our health systems. Site visits included a visit to the Okotoks Wastewater Treatment Plant, managed by EPCOR, and a guided tour of Turner Valley and Sheep River. Download the invitation here.

Urban Water Issues: Managing the Flow of Water in the City

May 9-11
Toronto, ON
The “Managing the Flow of Water in the City” workshop was the first Waterlution workshop of the 2008 season and the first of three workshops scheduled in Ontario in 2008. The goal of the workshop was to discuss urban water issues in and around the Greater Toronto Area where the ever-expanding and dynamic urban environment creates new pressures and management challenges for water. Participants were challenged to think about infrastructure needs for water delivery (drinking water, deep cooling for buildings), management challenges in the face of climate change and urbanization pressures (stormwater management),innovative sustainable planning solutions that consider ecological functions and urban development (green roofs) and defining cultural water values in the city so that Torontonians can learn to re-connect with the water resources in their city (Brickworks, Blue Flag program, Spadina slip and waterfront wetland). The urban-water landscape continues to change and faces increasing challenges. Participants on the Waterlution workshop, through their connection and dialogue, were provided an opportunity to explore new ideas and paradigms for sustaining our urban water resources.