Cross-Canada Checkup: A Canadian Perspective On Our Water Future is a report compiled by the University of Victoria’s POLIS Project and Simon Fraser University’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team. It is based largely on findings that came out of Bob Sandford’s cross-Canada tour last fall. Sandford is one of Canada’s foremost experts on water issues and is spending his time promoting the idea that Canada is in great need of a national water strategy that would set basic standards and policies in place across our country.
Each province that Sandford visited last fall had its own particular issues in relation to water. Here in Manitoba, I was one of the people on the panel who spoke along with Bob. One of our greatest challenges is the deteriorating condition of Lake Winnipeg and some of our other lakes as a result of growing blue-green algae blooms fouling the lakes. As well the shocking lack of clean, safe, running water on many of our northern First Nations communities was highlighted.
When I asked Bob what he thought the most important message from the report was, he responded that although Canadians think water is our most important natural resource, they continue to have the erroneous belief that we have a never-ending supply and that we are being careful with it. In fact, on average we’re using 329 litres per day, more than double what most other developed countries use.
We need to move quickly towards developing national policies that will ensure we’re using water in the wisest and most sustainable ways possible. Bob’s work with the UN on water issues is aptly named “Water for Life”. Our challenge is to create a Canadian water strategy that will ensure “Water for Life” for many generations.