Saving water, one drop at a time
Janet Ivey is helping communities save water, one drop at a time. As a watershed planning co-ordinator at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, she bridges the gap between the science of water conservation and policy implementation.
“I work with teams of science and engineering specialists to develop the science behind watershed planning and with the policy makers and implementers to translate that science into policy and projects,” says Ivey, B.Sc.(Env.) ’98 and MA ’00.
Scientists and policy makers need to work together to develop solutions to environmental issues that are both socially and economically viable.
“Sometimes there are solutions that are good for the environment and good for neighbourhoods, communities and people as well,” says Ivey.
Those solutions include planting trees, which help prevent erosion, maintaining water balance in the soil, and reducing energy consumption by shading homes in the summer. Ivey encourages homeowners to plant native species, which require less water and maintenance.
Her interest in social and environmental issues began as a teenager growing up in Waterloo, Ont., where she often questioned municipal policy decisions.
“I realized that if you really want to influence some of that decision-making, rather than fighting against the policy process, you need to be part of the policy process,” she says. Her bachelor’s degree gave her an interdisciplinary background in environmental science, while her master’s degree in geography provided her with an understanding of policy implementation.
“It did a good job of preparing me for the sort of job I do now where I work with experts in many of those technical disciplines,” says Ivey.
BY SUSAN BUBAK