WEST 2015


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WEST 2015 was held at the Liu Institute for Global Issues (6476 North West Marine Drive, V6T 1Z2), located on UBC’s Vancouver campus.  The conference ran from June 7th to 9th and featured 95 delegates, several keynotes and guest speakers, an industry panel discussion, networking through the British Columbia Water and Waste Association, 40 research presentations covering a wide range of water disciplines, plus cash prizes for the top presentations and poster displays.

Here is an overview of the 2015 schedule:


Sunday June 7th

Stanley Park Tour

Stanley-Park-LogoThe opening event for WEST 2015 was a fun and informative tour of Stanley Park with the Stanley Park Ecology Society.  The tour reviewed the Beaver Lake ecosystem and recent conservation projects aimed at preserving this natural oasis situated on the edge of BC’s largest city.

Meet & Greet

Following the Stanley park tour, conference attendees headed to The Park at English Bay (1755 Davie St.) to meet each other at an informal and comfortable setting.  In preparation for the Monday Panel Discussion, attendees had the opportunity to pose their questions and opinions on the discussion topic to conference organizers.

Monday June 8th

Keynote Speaker

After introductions, a special guest lecture was presented by Dr. Hans Schreier.  Dr. Schreier is a professor with the Department of Soil Science under the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.  Born in Switzerland, he is a well-traveled academic after completing his BA in Physical Geography at the University of Colorado, a Master of Science degree in Geomorphology and Resource Management from the University of Sheffield, UK, and a PhD in Geomorphology from UBC.  His research focuses on land and water interactions, integrated watershed management, and non-point sources of pollution, among many other interests.  He has been honoured with numerous awards, including the Science in Action Award presented by the United Nations in 2004 for his outstanding contribution to the field of watershed management.  For his presentation, Dr. Schreier will discuss How to Adapt to Emerging Urban Water Challenges.

Panel Discussion

The 2015 topic, Water and Resource Development in Canada, deliberated the relationship between the development of our natural resources and their impact on our water systems.  From oil and gas extraction, to mining and logging, the panel shared their expertise and experiences on the interface between these economically vital industries and our invaluable water resources .  Discussion focused on the current state of our water in relation to resource extraction and what the future may hold for us..

Engineering Sustainability Workshop

Engineering Leadership CouncilA workshop for WEST attendees and all other water enthusiasts took place at the Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir Street).   The Engineering Leadership Council hosted the workshop on the three factors that predict success or failure when implementing sustainability in the Engineering Industry.

Blue Drinks Networking Event

Following the workshop at The Railway Club, a Blue Drinks networking event was held. This was a great opportunity for conference delegates to meet and talk water with young professionals from BCWWA and other members of the Blue Drinks network.   Blue Drinks is a monthly gathering of water-minded practitioners, academics and entrepreneurs organized by the Canadian Water Network.

Tuesday June 9th

Industry Lunch

Lunch on Tuesday was attended by representatives of water-related companies and leading businesses.  Delegates and members of industry were encouraged to discuss their experiences and perspectives over a plate of food.

Keynote Speaker

Guess speaker, Dr. Ken Ashley, gave a lecture on The Challenges of Implementing Research Results to Real World Situations.  Dr. Ashley is currently the Director of the Rivers Institute and an Instructor in the Ecological Restoration Program at BCIT, as well as an Adjunct Professor at UBC’s Department of Civil Engineering.  He has had a diverse career working as a researcher with the Ministry of Environment in their Fisheries Research and Development Section from 1979 to 2005; in government positions with the Greater Vancouver Regional District from 2005 to 2007; and with industry as the Senior Scientist at Northwest Hydraulic Consultants.  Internationally recognized for his work with hypolimnetic aeration systems, lake/reservoir fertilization, and stream/river enrichment, he has received several awards such as the Fisheries Professional of the Year from the BC Ministry of Environment in 2001.

Closing Dinner & Awards

The conference’s closing dinner was held at Koerner’s Pub , located on UBC’s Campus and only a quick three minute walk from the Liu Institute for Global Issues.

The following awards were presented:

  • Phillip H. Jones First Place Prize ($300):  Top oral presentation from the Canadian Association on Water Quality
  • Phillip H. Jones Second Place Prize ($200):  Runner-up oral presentation from the Canadian Association on Water Quality
  • People’s Choice Award ($300):  Most popular presentation or poster as voted by conference attendees
  • Poster Prize ($200):  Top poster as selected by WEST Judges