|June 19, 2010|
Canada's Water Resources - We may not have enough!
|OTTAWA - The world's supply of
freshwater is limited and finite. While Canada is blessed with an
abundance of freshwater, an expected increase in the development of
the natural resource sectors begs the question of whether our
country has enough to support economic growth while also
maintaining the health of our ecosystems.
This is the main conclusion of a new report from The National
Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NTREE) that
examines the sustainability of Canada's water supply and its use by
the nation's major resource sectors.
The report concludes:
"Governance at a national level is not currently positioned to respond to expected increasing pressure on our water resources," says the report's executive summary. "This is largely due to jurisdictional complexity, inconsistent approaches across the country, policy fragmentation, a lack of resources, and insufficient technical, scientific, and policy capacity."
Growth in the natural resource sectors is expected to climb by between 50 and 65 per cent by 2030. The report calls for a national framework to deal with the issues and expected pressures outlined in the report.
"We need to know whether we are in a position to sustainably manage our water resources for future generations and if we have the capability to deal with issues like an anticipated change in precipitation patterns caused by climate change."
"While Canada is blessed with an abundance of freshwater, an expected increase in the development of the natural resource sectors begs the question of whether our country has enough to support economic growth while also maintaining the health of our ecosystems," said NRTEE Vice-Chair Robert Slater.
NRTEE President and Chief Executive Officer David McLaughlin said Canada needs to get a better handle on the quantity of water being used and how much is needed in the future.
"New stresses and demands are likely to pose a significant challenge to the sustainability of Canada's water resources if action is not taken now," said Mr. McLaughlin
Key Highlights of the Report
Natural Resource Sectors
More Details are available:
As the most significant gross water user in Canada, the electricity sector will face choices about Canada's future electrical generation mix that will have implications for the sustainability of water resources. For fossil and nuclear power generation, water availability is a key consideration, both in terms of constraints at existing facilities and siting of new facilities. more...
Oil and Gas Sector
Even though the oil and gas sector uses relatively small volumes of water on a national scale, the anticipated strong growth for the sector will have important consequences for regional water resources. The sector's impacts on water quality and ecosystems will continue to be a challenge for the sector to manage. more...
Due to irrigation, the agriculture sector consumes more water than any other natural resource sector in Canada. Anticipated increases in demand for irrigation, meat, consumable crops, and biofuels, coupled with the pressures expected from the effects of climate change, will likely result in increased water demand by the agriculture sector. more...
The mining sector is not a significant user or consumer of water, however mining activities can impact water quality and ecosystems if not managed properly. Climate change impacts may have important consequences for the management and future design of mines across Canada, particularly in the North. more...
Pulp and paper manufacturing industries have significantly improved their water use practices and account for approximately five per cent of gross water use in Canada, of which only two per cent is consumptive. Canada's forests play a crucial role in influencing the quality and quantity of water resources; in light of climate change impacts, more research is needed to better understand forest-water resource interactions. more...
The report Changing Currents: Water Sustainability and the Future of Canada's Natural Resource Sectors is available for downloadSource: www.nrtee-trnee.com