samedi 1 septembre 2007

Water, What's it good for? Absolutely everything!

Watersheds are not immune to the effects of growing water demand and a warming climate. Current water management strategies suffer from poor cooperation between different levels of government and lack of long-term, sustainable planning. Today, many of our watersheds are strained beyond their natural limits and the worse is yet to come. Both the quality and quantity of our freshwater is at stake.

The Facts About Canada's Water
Friends of the Earth Canada

The following facts and statistics offer a troubling, yet accurate, assessment of the present situation:
  • Canada ranks second highest in terms of per capita water consumption, at 353 litres per day, and is 65% above the OECD average.
  • In the past several years, 25% of Canadian municipalities have experienced water shortages.
  • 1/3 of Canadians depend on groundwater as their freshwater source - yet little is still known nation-wide about its quality and quantity.
  • The effects of global warming have already resulted in reductions of 25% in prairie river headwaters (sourced in the Rockies), through glacial sublimation and melt in the past 50 years.
  • Since 1850, some 1300 glaciers have lost 25-75% of their mass.
  • Other effects of global warming, such as severe weather events (storms, droughts etc.) will continue in severity and frequency - all of which directly impacting water security.
  • At least 100, 000 tonnes of toxic pollutants were directly discharged into Canada's surface waters in 2003.
  • In a sampling of freshwater sites across mostly southern Canada (345 total), 56% were found to be of either fair or poor quality.
  • Only 2.5% of the world's renewable freshwater is available to 85% of Canada's population, and not the 20% figure commonly quoted.

Faced with such a bleak snapshot of our present water problems, Canada cannot afford to continue on with a business-as-usual scenario. A new vision for water security is essential to the sustainability of our watersheds and the future of water in this country.

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