Kristian Dubrawski

Kristian Dubrawski
Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair in Water Sustainability for Indigenous and Rural Communities
Water; community; nature-based solutions; techno-ecological synergy
Office: ECS 466, DTB B310

PhD (UBC), Postdoctoral (Stanford)

Area of expertise

Water; community; nature-based solutions; techno-ecological synergy

I am a specialist in water quality and technology, intersecting with community and ecological health. My Ph.D. was at UBC in Chemical/Biological engineering with RES’EAU WaterNet on drinking water in rural and Indigenous communities, where I was part of the interdisciplinary BRIDGE program and worked on environmental health in communities impacted by resource extraction. At UBC, I was a Liu Institute Scholar and the Director of Volunteers for Engineers Without Borders. I then started my own water consulting company for small water systems, Ecological Water, as well as working with Indigenous Services Canada and other government agencies. I then worked as a consultant in the Public Sector and Sustainability practices for McKinsey & Company, with Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada, where I learned some of the nuances of sustainability policy. I was a visiting scholar at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with their “Arsenic-free Bangladesh” project, as well as a visiting associate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Sustainability Science Program. My post-doc was at Stanford, on small-system wastewater energy, nutrient, and carbon resource recovery. At UVic, I lead the Community Water Innovation Lab and hold the Canada Research Chair in Water Sustainability for Indigenous and Rural Communities. My lifelong passion is in working together to find just, sustainable, fun, and meaningful solutions in maintaining ecological health while accomplishing societal goals. As a non-Indigenous scholar committed to reconciliation, I have additional responsibility for training students in respectful, reciprocal, and just methodologies.


Community Water Systems - How can communities close the loop between their engineered (reservoirs, pipes, treatment and distribution infrastructure) and natural (rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater, ocean) water systems? Four billion people face severe water scarcity globally, and six million Indigenous and non-urban citizens in Canada face disproportionate exposure to contaminated drinking water, yet 80-90% of wastewater is uncollected and discharged untreated to the environment, causing disease and pollution. We are building community-led decision support systems for water sustainability.

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and techno-ecological NbS – Instead of putting technology into nature, we are looking at how much nature (e.g., biodiversity, greenspace, ecosystem services) we can put into technology and infrastructure. We are building wetland microcosms to test biological and chemical water quality with various wastewaters and integrated technologies to build a nature-based water reuse platform.

(Bio)electrochemical Water Technologies – What chemical-free methods exist that use or produce electricity to improve water quality? How can resources in small-system wastewater be captured without production of anaerobic methane? Utilizing microbial electrochemical technologies (MET), we have created carbon-negative wastewater treatment – producing valuable chemicals instead of CO2 or CH4. We are integrating MET into wetlands as hybrid-NbS.

Environmental Justice - How can marginalized communities become empowered to improve their community and ecological health? How can the academic community support these communities? We are co-creating community water testing toolkits to empower communities to reliably record and maintain their own environmental datasets.