Karen Bakker

Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology

Tier 2 - 2011-01-01
Renewed: 2016-02-01
The University of British Columbia
Social Sciences and Humanities


Research involves

Studying the causes of water insecurity from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Research relevance

This research will develop practical solutions to water insecurity, with the goal of increasing the safety and availability of water around the world.

Fresh Water Security for Canada and the World

Access to secure supplies of fresh water is one of the world’s critical environmental challenges. The United Nations estimates that more than one billion people in developing countries do not have access to safe water. In some regions, tough choices need to be made between allocating water for drinking, agriculture or energy production (a challenge known as the “water nexus”).

As Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology, Dr. Karen Bakker is investigating the causes of water insecurity around the world and aims to develop solutions to this challenge.

Bakker and her research team are developing practical solutions and tools—such as water security status assessment methods—to help policy-makers, water managers and communities address water problems. This research integrates ecosystem health and human health, and brings together natural and social scientists to develop interdisciplinary solutions to the most pressing threats to water security.

Threats to the quality and quantity of water are also on the rise across Canada, particularly in indigenous communities and in regions with high rates of resource development. Bakker and her team are developing practical strategies for enhancing water security for these communities, including water monitoring techniques rooted in indigenous legal traditions.

Ultimately, Bakker’s research will help assess risks to water and will enhance water security both in Canada and around the world.