Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS)/Water is a program of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is the only global water quality monitoring system. Countries voluntarily provide data to the program from their national monitoring programs. GEMS/Water provides evidence-based information on the state and trends of global inland water quality required for the sustainable management of the world's inland waters. GEMS activities, which include assessments of freshwater lakes, reservoirs, rivers and ground waters, maintenance of a global water quality database and management of an international network of participating countries, support global environmental assessments, water resource management and economic and environmental decision making.
Environment Canada is pleased to support GEMS/Water and is proud of continuing our 30-year legacy. Environment Canada's National Water Research Institute has housed the GEMS/Water database since the inception of the program in 1978.
On March 20, 2009, the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, announced that Environment Canada will continue to provide our core commitment and invest an additional $2.5 M over 5 years to allow the program to expand to add data quality management activities, water assessments and capacity building. On the same day, Lynne Yelich, Minister of State, Western Economic Diversification Canada announced that Western Economic Diversification Canada is working with the University of Lethbridge and the University of Saskatchewan to allow for a further investment of up to $2 M for a water resource technology initiative.
On March 20, 2010, Canada's Environment Minister, Jim Prentice in partnership with Western Economic Diversification, announced the Government of Canada's investment in water quality research at the Universities of Lethbridge and Saskatchewan. The new investment totals $3.75 million and will go towards research projects that will ultimately assist organizations in making environmentally-responsible decisions aimed at preserving water quality. Environment Canada will provide more than $1.5 million of in-kind support and Western Economic Diversification will provide $2.25 million. The University of Lethbridge will develop a Water and Environmental Sciences Hub for use by governments, industry, academia and the public to make more-informed decisions regarding water and will create a better understanding of this resource. The University of Saskatchewan in partnership with the Saskatchewan Research Council and Environment Canada will develop a decision-support software system to help energy developers make environmentally-responsible decisions on power plant locations by determining the impact of power plants or other power-generating technologies on water quantity and quality in the area. This will lead to environmentally sound policy decisions around power plant locations and will strengthen Canada's competitive edge as a global leader in water resource technology, training and innovation.
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