samedi 27 octobre 2007

We Must Protect Fresh Water

Ottawa asked to protect fresh water
Last Updated: Friday, October 26, 2007 | 11:33 PM ET
CBC News

The federal government should move to protect Canada's fresh water, a report by a group organized by an environmental lobby says.

Government action to protect fresh water has been "sorely lacking" for 20 years as the pressure on fresh water — from pollution, climate change, drought in Western Canada and falling levels in the Great Lakes — are increasing, the report said.

Changing the Flow: A Blueprint for Federal Action on Freshwater was released by the Gordon Water Group, organized by the Sierra Club, on Friday.

Among other recommendations, the report said the federal government should:
  • Tighten legal loopholes to prevent bulk water exports.
  • Promote water conservation.
  • Create a national freshwater strategy, and allocate money to support it.
  • Respect aboriginal water rights and improve the enforcement of laws governing water systems.
  • Develop a national water inventory and maps of major aquifers.

In the Oct. 16 throne speech, the government said it would introduce a new water strategy "to help clean up our major lakes and oceans and to improve access to safe drinking water for First Nations."

All the federal parties have made commitments to a freshwater policy, the Gordon report said.

"It is critical that all parties co-operate to quickly develop and implement a comprehensive freshwater action plan," it said in a release.

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Natural Resources Defense Council a dit...

How to Keep Our Water Clean - 12 simple ways you can help stem the tide of polluted runoff.

Everyday household activities are a major contributor to polluted runoff, which is among the most serious sources of water contamination. When it rains, fertilizer from lawns, oil from driveways, paint and solvent residues from walls and decks and even waste from pet Fido are all washed into storm sewers or nearby lakes, rivers and streams -- the same lakes, rivers and streams we rely on for drinking, bathing, swimming and fishing. Here are some ways you can help reduce polluted runoff.

In Your Home:

1. Correctly dispose of hazardous household products. Keep paints, used oil, cleaning solvents, polishes, pool chemicals, insecticides, and other hazardous household chemicals out of drains, sinks, and toilets. Many of these products contain harmful substances -- such as sodium hypochlorite, petroleum distillates, phenol and cresol, ammonia and formaldehyde -- that can end up in nearby water bodies.

2. Use nontoxic household products whenever possible. Discarding toxic products correctly is important, but not buying them in the first place is better. Ask local stores to carry nontoxic products if they don’t already.

3. Recycle and dispose of all trash properly. Never flush non-degradable products -- such as disposable diapers or plastic tampon applicators -- down the toilet. They can damage the sewage treatment process and end up littering beaches and waters.

4. Conserve water. Use the most efficient plumbing fixtures. A whopping 73 percent of the water you use in your home is either flushed down the toilet or washed down the shower drain. Toilet dams or bricks placed in your toilet tank can save four gallons of water per flush, or up to 13,000 gallons a year for the average family of four. Low-flow toilets and showerheads also yield major water savings. Repair drips promptly; a dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons a day, a leaking toilet 200 gallons. Sweep driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them down.

In Your Yard:

5. Use natural fertilizers. Apply natural fertilizer such as compost, manure, bone meal or peat whenever possible. Ask your local hardware and garden supply stores to stock these natural fertilizers. You can also buy a composting setup at a garden supply or hardware store, or by mail. Composting decreases the need for fertilizer and helps soil retain moisture.

6. Avoid over-watering lawns and gardens. Use slow-watering techniques on lawns and gardens. Over-watering lawns can increase the leaching of fertilizers into groundwater. Trickle or "drip" irrigation systems and soaker hoses are 20 percent more efficient than sprinklers.

7. Decrease impervious surfaces around your home. Having fewer hard surfaces of concrete and asphalt will improve drainage around your home and in your yard. Do your landscaping with vegetation, gravel or other porous materials instead of cement; install wood decking instead of concrete, and interlocking bricks and paver stones for walkways. Redirect rain gutters and downspouts to soil, grass or gravel areas. Planting vegetation at lower elevations than nearby hard surfaces allows runoff to seep into soil.

8. Maintain septic systems properly. Have the septic tank cleaned out every three to five years. Effluent from failed or poorly maintained septic systems can contaminate groundwater. Monitoring and cleaning your system regularly also saves money by prolonging the life of the system.

Maintaining Your Car:

9. Recycle used motor oil. Avoid pouring waste oil into gutters or down storm drains, and resist the temptation to dump wastes onto the ground. A single quart of motor oil that seeps into groundwater can pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water.

10. Be "green" when washing your car. Hand-wash your car on the lawn with a bucket of soapy water, rags and a hose. Just turning off the hose between rinsings can save up to 150 gallons. Or, if you don’t want to do it yourself, choose a car wash that recycles its water.

In Your Community:

11. Help identify, report and stop polluters. Join a local clean water or environmental group that monitors industries and sewage treatment plants that are discharging wastes.

12. Be an activist. Contact your public officials and attend hearings to encourage them to support laws and programs to protect our water. Ask officials to control polluted runoff, increase protection for wetlands and other aquatic ecosystems, reduce the flow of toxics into our waterways, and strengthen enforcement.

NRDC works on a broad range of issues as we pursue our mission to safeguard the Earth; its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. Explore our six priority goals & more at: