"Canada's relatively abundant water supply will surely be an asset in future as precious as oil was in the 20th Century," says Mr. Parker. "It must be managed carefully to ensure it can be harvested sustainably in perpetuity, supporting the well-being of all members of the world community."
The surface of Canada covered by freshwater lakes and rivers roughly equals the entire area of Spain, Germany and Belgium combined.
However, says Bernadette Conant, Executive Director of the Canadian Water Network: "It is critical that Canada's relative 'abundance' not make Canadians complacent on the water supply issue, nor divert attention from the critical importance of water quality."
"The need to manage this resource effectively is common to every country on Earth."
"Water is not distributed evenly across Canada, nor are its people, industry and environmental needs. Much of Canada's water is frozen or flows north, away from populated areas, and just 1% of its supply is renewed each year by precipitation. The quality and security of that supply underpin public and environmental health, as well as the economy."
Some regions like western Canada already experience water shortages, she says, while developed areas in the east will face supply shortages due to insufficient planning and management, and elsewhere flooding will be the biggest problem.
"Canada is a vast country and will experience the broad gamut of water challenges, creating the opportunity to further develop and share our broad expertise in how best to deal with them. The dire forecasts are not inevitable if we apply well-demonstrated water management knowledge, technology and social innovations."
Conference speaker Hans Schreier of the University of British Columbia
|Contact: Terry Collins|
Canadian Water Network