Posted by: Vicki Burns | April 15, 2010

Prairie Water Problems – How You Can Help!

Welcome to my first blog posting about water problems across the Prairies and what we can do to fix them!

I’ve had the opportunity to travel through Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta over the past two years learning about what is going on throughout the vast watershed of Lake Winnipeg (almost 1 million square kilometres). I’ve been both disheartened by what I’ve seen and encouraged at the same time.

Why – because there are serious concerns with both water quality and quantity that many people are unaware of.

Lake Winnipeg algae blooms

Algae blooms in the Lake Winnipeg Watershed

Tremendous toxic blue green algae blooms taking over many lakes; boil water advisories warning that the water is not safe to drink; and both droughts and floods occurring more frequently. On the positive side though, I’ve also learned about the numerous groups working on watershed protection and planning for the future [PDF]!

My perception is that there is a great need to raise awareness amongst the general public about these water problems and to deliver the message that we can all help to protect our precious water so that we have enough clean, safe water for now and for the future!

Here is a simple list of things that everyone can do to start to decrease pollution and to stop wasting water [PDF]. I hope that together we can build on that list with more ideas and examples of what anyone can do whether you’re an individual, foundation, business, or municipality!

Please contact me with any ideas or examples you have of good innovative projects related to water – both pollution prevention and water conservation.



  1. This is a great opportunity to discuss a very important issue. I ranch and live in rural Manitoba and have watched my neighbors drain wetlands and push trees into piles and burn them to create more acres of cereal grains. This is often done at an economic loss but makes for easier tractor driving! The province’s water licensing branch does have the regulatory authority to address some of these issues but lacks the will?, there is a culture of progress via environmental destruction that should have had the breaks applied about ten years ago, but still lives strong In the minds of ignorant landowners.

    Ducks Unlimited has recently shown that draining water from the prairie landscape drains nutrients into lakes and stream, not to mention the loss of climate regulation and habitat loss that comes with wetland loss. It is so simple, stop the drainage and you will reduce the nutrient loading. This however doesn’t line up with our society’s great ambition to create economic develop and make trans-national companies such as Monsanto and Cargill and Viterra too, wealth, while we sell our children’s futures short . we need a no net loss of wetland policy at the national level and we also need to start discussions around a policy to protect forested areas and tree/shelterbelt areas of need such as along our main highways..

  2. Thanks for your comment Ryan. I understand your concern and hope that we can help to raise awareness of these issues and provide some discussion about solutions. The RM of Dufferin in Manitoba has recently announced that they are going to put some money into reimbursing farmers to leave wetlands in place. I think that is very impressive and symbolic that they’re putting their money on the table to encourage the right action!
    We need more of those kind of actions across the country!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: