Claudia Pahl-Wostl

We are very fortunate to have Claudia Pahl-Wostl joining us as a speaker at our conference.

Claudia is full professor for Resources Management at the Institute for Environmental Systems Research (USF) in Osnabrück, Germany. This interdisciplinary institute is associated with the department of mathematics and computer science. Its goal is to promote research and teaching in systems science at the interface between the natural and socio-economic sciences. Claudia is also a visiting professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

Since October 2001, USF’s activities in socio-economics and integrated modelling and analysis are extended by the chair of resources management. Over the past decade, an internationally leading interdisciplinary research programme on governance and adaptive and integrated resources management of water resources, and the role of social and societal learning, has been established. The research programme builds on foundations in systems science, which explicitly acknowledge the complex and often unpredictable dynamics of the systems to be managed.

In 2012, Claudia was awarded the Bode Foundation Water Management Prize for the pioneering interdisciplinary work on “Governance in times of change” and comparative analyses of water governance in large river basins.

Claudia was Co-Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Global Water System Project and is now a member of the planning committee of the solution-oriented “Sustainable Water Future Programme,” a core project of Future Earth. She has participated in and coordinated several European projects, including the Integrated Project NeWater (New methods for adaptive water management) that focused on the transition to more integrated, adaptive approaches to water management in a river basin. The project had case studies in Europe, Africa and Central Asia, where new methods were developed and tested in participatory settings.

Claudia Pahl-Wostl is co-author of numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals, chapters in edited books, policy briefs and popular reports. Her emphasis on interdisciplinary and community-building work is reflected in her role as editor of three books and fifteen special issues in peer reviewed journals.

Call for Poster Abstracts

We invite you to share innovative approaches to establish and protect Environmental Flow Needs (EFN) by presenting your poster at the EFN2018 Conference.

– Methodologies for determining EFN values
– EFN science and applications
– EFN and fisheries
– Ecosystems services and EFNs
– EFN policies – opportunities and barriers
– Collaborative approaches to EFN management
– Drought response plans

Prizes for best student posters will be announced soon!

Follow this link to submit your Poster Abstract

The deadline for submission of poster abstracts is July 31st, 2018.

Sponsors & Organizing Partners

We are excited to announce our sponsors and organizing partners:


Okanagan Basin Water Board

B.C. Ministry of Environment


UBC Okanagan | Earth, Environmental & Geographic Sciences


Hoskin Scientific

Associated Environmental Consultants Inc.


Ecoscape Environmental


Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB)

Canadian Water Resources Association, B.C. Branch (CWRA-BC)

Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA)

UBC-Okanagan (UBC-O)

First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia (FNFCBC)

POLIS Project on Ecological Governance (POLIS)

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development (FLNRORD)

Thank you for your support!


Organizing Partners

Robert Sanford, the “Winston Churchill” of water

We are pleased to welcome Robert Sandford, EPCOR Chair in Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, as a speaker at our conference!

As Chair, Bob was the co-author of the UN’s Water in the World We Want report, looking at post-2015 global sustainable development goals relating to water.

Bob is committed to translating scientific research outcomes into language decision-makers can use to craft timely and meaningful public policy and brings international example to bear on local water issues. To this end, Bob is also senior advisor on water issues for the Interaction Council, a global public policy forum composed of more than 30 former heads of state including Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, U.S. President Bill Clinton and the former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Brundtland. Bob is also a Fellow of the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan and a Fellow of the Biogeoscience Institute at the University of Calgary. He is also a member of Canada’s Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW), a national water policy research group based in Toronto. Among many other honours, Bob received the Premier’s award in 2011 for his collaboration on the Northwest Territories water stewardship strategy.

Bob is also the author or co-author of several books, including most recently, Flood Forecast: Climate Risk & Resilience in Canada; The Columbia River Treaty: A Primer; Storm Warning: Water & Climate Security in a Changing Canada and The Climate Nexus: Water, Food, Energy and Biodiversity, which he co-authored with former Deputy Minister of Environment Jon O’Riordan. The Columbia Icefield and North America in the Anthropocene followed in 2016. Our Vanishing Glaciers: The Snows of Yesteryear and the Future Climate of the Mountain West was released in the summer of 2017. It was followed in the fall of 2017 by The Hard Work of Hope: Climate Change in the Trump Era, co-authored again with Jon O’Riordan.

Seeking Sponsors

EFN2018 is seeking your sponsorship.

This is an excellent opportunity for your organization to showcase your services, products or professionals.

Your primary audience will be individuals and organizations interested in Environmental Flow Needs and the management of our shared water.

The conference will include plenary sessions, a gala banquet, and exhibitor hall with many great networking opportunities.

Up to 275 water resource professionals from Canada and abroad are expected to attend.

Download the EFN 2018 Sponsorship Package

Gold Sponsors represent a premium financial commitment to this conference and will have the opportunity to have a large logo displayed at all of the various events and meals as well as have a representative say a few words to the delegation during the Gala dinner. Gold sponsors will have the opportunity to set-up a display at the conference.

Silver Sponsors represent a significant financial commitment to this conference and will have the opportunity to have a medium logo displayed at all of the various events and meals. Silver sponsors will have the opportunity to set-up a display at the conference.

Bronze Sponsors will have the opportunity to have their organization’s name displayed on conference promotional materials.

FOR MORE INFORMATION or for questions regarding exhibitor options or sponsorship, please contact sponsorship co-chairs: Nelson Jatel at (250) 469.6295, e-mail or Lawrence Bird at (250) 545.3672, e-mail

Further reading

Visit to learn more about the Environmental Flow Needs Project, including:

Mission Creek Habitat and Intake Mapping

Collaborative Development of Methods to Set Environmental Flow Needs in Okanagan Streams
This report presents the results of a study to develop robust methods for determining the Environmental Flow Needs of Okanagan streams, and provide information needed to customize the methods for 19 specific tributaries within the Okanagan Basin.

Annotated Bibliography – Environmental Flows: Water Use Plans and Technical Documents in the British Columbia Context
This Annotated Bibliography centralizes information of interest to the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council’s Environmental Flows committee. Specifically, included are Water Use Plans and Technical documents that are in the Okanagan Basin context.


The Okanagan Basin Water Board and the Canadian Water Resources Association, BC Branch are hosting an Environmental Flow Needs Conference, October 16 to 18, 2018, in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Environmental Flow Needs: Science, Policy & Practice

This conference builds on a workshop held in Vancouver in January 2016. The conference is intended to bring together researchers, fisheries and water managers, regulators, and policy-makers from a range of organizations (e.g. academia, First Nations, other governments, non-profit water organizations, and consultants) to discuss the state of knowledge of EFN-setting in B.C., to showcase recent EFN work in the Okanagan and elsewhere in B.C. and Canada, to address challenges in implementing B.C.’s new Water Sustainability Act, and to develop recommendations to improve the process of EFN setting, policy-making, and regulation related to EFNs.

More details to follow.

What are environmental flow needs?

The environmental (or in-stream) flow needs of a stream are defined as the volume and timing of water flow required for effective functioning of the aquatic ecosystem – for fish and other needs.

Methods of determining EFNs have been in use in North America for several decades, but in many areas no information on EFNs is available.

In B.C. the introduction of the Water Sustainability Act in February 2016 created a need to determine EFNs for water bodies potentially affected by proposed surface or groundwater extractions.

In locations where significant demand or competition for water exists, such as the Okanagan, scientists, policy-makers, planners, and regulators are now focussed on developing methods to determine appropriate EFN flow regimes.

These efforts are also being driven by an ever- increasing demand for water, and growing frequency and severity of droughts.