Celebrating World Water Day: What will it take to secure our water future?

March 22, 2018

A message from Stantec CEO Gord Johnston on World Water Day 2018

By Gord Johnston


Communities need water. But when water quality or quantity doesn’t meet a community’s needs, this can trigger both human and economic hardship, or worse. Too much water too fast. Too little water for too long. Water quality that’s too poor. Water sustains life, but can also quickly take it away.



Every community wants its interaction with water to be sustainable, reliable, resilient, and affordable—the four elements of water security. But in any given community or region, water’s supply and demand evolve independently of each other. Population growth, migration to cities, and the effects of climate change require increasingly creative, sophisticated, and integrated solutions to achieve water security. Water planning in an increasingly water-stressed world requires a new way of thinking. We need to unify all water elements and all water stakeholders.

This new paradigm requires a holistic view of a community’s interaction with all types and sources of water—surface, stormwater, groundwater, wastewater, and increasingly, water refreshed for reuse. Communities should plan with a clear view of all water opportunities so they can optimize the four elements of water security. 

The new paradigm should also unite technical and financial experts, community leaders, universities, regulators, and public stakeholders in this common purpose. Let’s set aside self-interest in favor of community interest.

Join us as we explore The Future of Water, an ongoing dialogue on our Ideas hub that will explore how, together, we can achieve our common goal of affordable water security for every community around the world, large and small. 


About the  Author

Gord Johnston is Stantec's president and CEO. Previously, he led our Transportation, Community Development, and Water business lines. He has 30 years of private and public sector experience in the design and project management of infrastructure projects throughout North America and abroad.

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