Hugh Simpson

Adjunct Faculty
Rural Planning and Development

Find Related People by Keyword


  • PhD, Geography and Resource Management, University of Waterloo
  • MSc, Earth Sciences and Regional Planning and Resource Development, University of Waterloo
  • G.Dip., Waste Management and Groundwater Contamination, McGill University
  • BSc, Geography, University of Victoria


Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food; Environmental Management Branch
1 Stone Road West, 3rd Floor SE
Guelph, Ontario  N1G 1S2


Hugh has been involved with the development of science-based water policy and programs for more than 25 years.  He is a Professional Geoscientist and is currently employed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. His professional interests include:

  • Current and emerging research knowledge mobilization
  • Pragmatic approaches to water resource management, especially those involving facilitation and negotiation
  • Risk assessment, management and communication concerning complex environmental problems
  • Municipal and private water supply and wastewater management systems
  • Groundwater management and protection in agricultural and rural areas

He has Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Waterloo that examined the contribution of stakeholder networks to the development of water policy and governance. He is also an Affiliated Researcher with the Water Policy and Governance Group located out of the University of Waterloo. Current research interests are focused around collaborative approaches for complex environmental problem-solving, including:

  • Capacity building and knowledge mobilization in stakeholder networks
  • Collaborative approaches to risk analysis and water resource governance
  • Vernacular knowledge development through the integration of expert science and community values and knowledge
  • Mixed methods approaches to social network research
  • Perspective and role of ‘embedded’ researchers in social network research.

Although Hugh cannot directly supervise graduate students, he is interested in providing guidance and insight concerning the above research areas.  

Selected Publications:

Simpson, H., R. de Loë and J. Andrey, 2015. Vernacular Knowledge and Water Management – Towards the Integration of Expert Science and Local Knowledge in Ontario, Canada. Water Alternatives, 8(3), 77-97.

de Loë, R.C., D. Murray, and H.C. Simpson, 2015. Farmer perspectives on collaborative approaches to governance for water. Journal of Rural Studies, 42, 191-205.

Simpson, H.C., and R.C. de Loë, 2014. A Collaborative Approach to Groundwater Protection: The Rural Water Quality Program for Waterloo Region. Canadian Water Resources Journal, 39(2), 228-239.

Kreutzwiser, R, R. de Loë, K. Imgrund, M.J. Conboy, H. Simpson, and R. Plummer, 2011. Understanding Stewardship Behaviour: Factors Facilitating and Constraining Private Water Well Stewardship. Journal of Environmental Management, 1104-1114.

Simpson, H.C., and J.P. Myslik, 2005.  Developing a Farm Wellhead Protection Plan, Bringing Groundwater Quality Research to the Watershed Scale, IAHS Publication. 297, 234-240.

Simpson, H.C., 2004. Promoting the Management and Protection of Private Water Wells, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, 67, 1679-1704.