Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Diving deeper into Water Security  

Water is a naturally bountiful resource that we, our livelihoods, ecosystems, and industries are dependent on but yet, many communities and individuals around the world face such barriers to the access of clean and potable water. This panel aims to discuss how climate change, growing populations, industrial and urban development are amplifying water security issues in our global water crisis.  What is being done to address and tackle water security in a sustainable way? Not only is water necessary for life on earth, but it is essential for food security, economic livelihood, sanitation, and health; this panel aims to understand and challenge the extent of these relationships in order to truly come to terms with the impact of water insecurity. This panel will also ask why this is a recurring problem that has been in the development agenda for decades but yet many communities are still marginalized from water access. This panel will also unpack global water management in the face of climate change: How are water resources being distributed between the needs of different populations? Which populations are the most vulnerable? What is the impact of resource mismanagement on water access around the world? Which paths might we take towards a ‘greener’ world, where water is better managed and available for all?



Dr. Amy Bilton

Dr. Amy Bilton is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Center for Global Engineering (CGEN) at the University of Toronto.  She completed her Ph.D. and M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics at M.I.T. and her B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science, Aerospace Option, from the University of Toronto. Her research group, the Water and Energy Research Laboratory, partners with international NGOs worldwide to develop appropriate water and energy solutions for remote communities in the developing world.


Rebecca McMillan

Rebecca McMillan is interested in the intersection of environment and international development. As a PhD candidate in U of T’s Department of Geography, her research investigates the political ecology of water governance in urban informal settlements in Caracas, Venezuela. Using ethnographic methods, the research looks at the links between water access, community participation, and broader processes of political and economic change. At U of T Rebecca is also a research assistant with the Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership and has worked as a course instructor at UTSC. Rebecca holds an MA in International Development and Globalization Studies and a BA in Environmental Studies. Rebecca’s previous work has been in the areas of research for development, climate change, and community development both in Canada and Latin America.


Dr Nidhi Nagabhatla

Dr Nidhi Nagabhatla serves as Programme Officer and Capacity Building Coordinator at United Nations at United Nations University - Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), the UN Think Tank on Water housed in Canada. She is a (natural) systems science specialist and a geospatial analyst with nearly 20 years of research and work experience. Nidhi has lead, coordinated and implemented transdisciplinary projects and worked with multi-disciplinary research teams in various geographical regions and varied thematic domains within the water security nexus, in Asia, South Africa, West Europe and North American regions with international organizations, including IWMI, World Fish Centre, and IUCN, UNU leading research and capacity development initiatives. She is also affiliated with leading academics institutes: Oxford University (UK); Leibniz University (Germany) and McMaster University (Canada) in various roles, mostly related to sustainability research and the science-policy interface and capacity development. She serves as the Chair of the Steering Board for Young Professional Platform for Agriculture Research and Development (YPARD) UN-FAO and as a Lead Author with The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). She has published more than 125  papers as peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, workshop contributions, and policy briefs and serves on the editorial and review committee of numerous international journals. She is a Chevening Fellow with University of Oxford - Future Leaders Program.