Research Areas

CentrEau's approach is to strengthen water governance by studying the interactions between uses and the availability of the resource. Water is used for multiple uses and its quality and/or availability are modified accordingly. These two facets of the water governance problem are often linked, but rarely integrated into overall planning. In the context of climate change and increased urbanization, a sufficient supply of good quality water is not always assured. Water availability and quality depend on multiple interrelated factors that need to be studied together to design sustainable solutions for water governance. Thus, the governance tools that will be developed under the leadership of CentrEau will increase the resilience and water security of communities. CentrEau' scientific programming, ambitious but long-term, is based on the two fundamental axes of usage and availability that are crossed by the transversal axis of governance. Each axis has three themes for which examples of research topics are presented in parentheses.


Transversal axis

Governance and water management

This axis is interdisciplinary and transversal since it induces in the other axes a long-term vision which is articulated around notions of vulnerability, uncertainty and resilience. The links between water, global change and people's vulnerability are very close. Indeed, water is present at all levels of ecosystems and involved in key sectors of societies, while it is also the main hazard associated with the global changes to which communities are exposed. The global changes discussed are mainly climatic and social (demographic, public policies, urbanization, etc.). The IPCC concluded that current water governance systems are not able to cope with the challenges of climate change. Projects in this area complement the analysis of governance and inform thinking about the rules, policies and practices surrounding decision-making in a context of interdependence.                               Axis managers: Paule Halley and Jie He



Understanding interactions (nexus) between uses and availability at the interfaces between water, food, energy and natural environments

Area ManagerJan Adamowski


Understanding, at different scales, the main risks and disrupters of governance 

Area managerAmaury Tilmant


Identify governance objectives and models to reduce risks and vulnerabilities 

Area managerAlain Létourneau

Show researcher Governance and water management Show examples of impacts on the society of researcher in the axis Governance and water management


Uses of Water

This axis places community life at the center of water research. The issues linking water, energy and climate change adaptation pose major challenges for communities and governments to address. Cities, villages and remote communities need to be rethought and their resilience increased: water and carbon footprints, energy consumption, water management, recreational tourism uses, rural and climatic exodus and risk management are as many factors to consider for their management. The different cultures of Man and the historical changes in water management also change the way we perceive and design the services and the economic value of water as well as the resources recovered from wastewater. It is also in the communities that a good part of the economic engine of societies is located since water plays a critical role in industrial activities.       Axis managers: Rimeh Daghrir and Manuel Rodriguez



List and quantify water uses for primary production taking into account ecological services offered in various sectors: agriculture, mining and forestry, fish farming and energy production, while taking into account the limits of natural environments.


Quantify and optimize the use of water in secondary production, i.e. industries, e.g. agro-food, chemical, pharmaceutical, manufacturing


Study and quantify the water needs and uses of cities and small communities: production and distribution of drinking water, transport and treatment of wastewater and stormwater, access to water, and smart, resilient and water-sensitive cities

Area manager: Danielle Dagenais

Show researcher Uses of Water Show examples of impacts on the society of researcher in the axis Uses of Water

Axis 2

Water Availability

The management of water resources in natural and managed environments at the watershed scale is a major issue. The multiplicity of uses and potential conflicts, the diversity of land occupations and the inherent complexity of the hydrological cycle pose many scientific, technical and environmental challenges. Only a pooling of knowledge and expertise in complementary scientific fields will allow the development of optimal solutions. This axis intends to examine these questions and to improve our knowledge in these matters. The different themes aim to improve our knowledge of the hydrological offer and the hazards of the hydro-climatic regime.   Axis managers: Alain Mailhot and​​​ Daniel Nadeau



Improve tools for integrated quantity and quality simulations to predict their co-variation in time and space 

Area managerPaul Baudron


Project the climate change hydrometeorological regime and the necessary adaptations to water governance

Area managerAnnie Poulin


Predict flow rates and water levels in the short term using a chain of models combining the atmosphere, the watershed and the river 

Area managerMarie-Amélie Boucher

Show researcher Water Availability