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Water Un-frastructure

Posted on February 14, 2012
Written by Bob Sandford
The most immediately compelling argument we have in support of water policy reform in Canada is what hydrologists describe as the loss of hydrological stationarity. While few outside the fields of hydrology and climatology presently understand the meaning of stationarity, it won’t be long before the term enters public consciousness and everyday vocabulary around the world. The reason: the loss of hydrological stationarity means that our world is changing--and in some places it is changing faster than anyone expected and in ways that many do not desire. We [...]

Democratizing Data to Build a Blue Future

Posted on February 2, 2012
Written by Anthony M. Watanabe
This guest column is part of Building Our Blue Future, a monthly web series that narrates Canada’s water story as it happens. In 2003, Don Tapscott published a book called The Naked Corporation, which declared that the boundary-less immediacy of the Internet would expose business practices and radically change how business behaved. His message, perhaps even more resonant now, in the era of Twitter and Facebook, was that if you’re going to be exposed (or naked), you’d better be buff!  Almost 10 years later, Tapscott’s argument still has currency [...]

Video: Restoring the Lifeblood Highlights

Posted on January 17, 2012
Conceived to engage funders in a discussion on key challenges and opportunities with respect to fresh water and First Nations communities, last October's Restoring the Lifeblood: Water, First Nations, and Opportunities for Change featured talks from the topic's heavy hitters, including François Paulette, journalist Helen Fallding, the Centre for Indigenous Environment Resources' Merrell-Ann Phare, and the Assembly of First Nations' director of housing and infrastructure, Irving Leblanc. Tim Morris of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation facilitated a [...]

Water's Next in the News

Posted on January 16, 2012
We've had great response to last week's release of our second annual Water's Next publication, which celebrates some of Canada's best and brightest in the water sector. From blog posts to newspaper articles to TV spots, the good word is officially out there. Check out this short profile on Terry Rees, executive director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association, highlighted in the People category. [...]

Chapter 1

Posted on January 2, 2012
Written by Anthony M. Watanabe
This guest column launches Building Our Blue Future, a monthly web series that will narrate Canada’s water story as it happens. The column also appears in the January/February 2012 issue of Water Canada. Canada is blessed with freshwater resources. These resources provide essential services such as sanitation and clean drinking water. They provide recreation in the form of swimming, paddling, and fishing. They also help power our economy—from food production to pulp and paper to energy production. Even our national sport is played on water, albeit [...]

Lake Winnipeg: Canada’s Great Dead Zone

Posted on December 5, 2011
Written by Bob Sandford
We need to be honest with ourselves. What we have created is the largest inland freshwater dead zone in the world. At 15,000 square kilometres in area, algal blooms in Lake Winnipeg are now larger than the record 8,500-square-mile area of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. We need to admit that we are nowhere near to solving the Lake Winnipeg problem. Nor are we as a nation taking the problem as seriously as we should. In his book, The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Freshwater in the 21st Century, Alex Prud’homme clearly describes what is wrong. Dead [...]

Book Giveaway: Ethical Water

Posted on December 2, 2011
This new book by Bob Sandford and Merrell-Ann Phare, two of Canada's most authoritative experts on water issues, redefines our relationship with fresh water and outlines the steps society will have to take to ensure the sustainability of our supply for future generations. In ten years, what will be Canada's most important ethical water dilemma? For a chance to win a copy of Ethical Water, comment below or send your answer to kerry (at) watercanada (dot) net. Contest closes on Friday, December 9. [...]

S-11 Redux

Posted on November 21, 2011
It looks like the feds may revive the recently failed First Nations Drinking Water Safety Act proposal (also known as S-11). According to CBC News, last week interim Liberal leader Bob Rae put forward an opposition day motion asking for the need for safe drinking water to be addressed "on an urgent basis" — "no later than the spring of 2012." In response, Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said the feds will be introducing legislation on water "so we can have enforceable standards, and we will develop regulations with our First Nations partners." The [...]

As Seen From Space

Posted on November 9, 2011
“This is considered the worst bloom in decades," says Richard Stumpf, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who measured 50 times more microcystin in Lake Erie in the summer of 2011 than the World Health Organization recommends for safe recreation. The reasons for the bloom are complex, but may be related to a rainy spring and invasive mussels. More details and images here. NOAA reports that the bloom is seasonal and currently isn't a threat. The final bulletin of the 2011 season reports that the bloom in Lake [...]

Creative Penalties

Posted on November 7, 2011
Missed a lot of water news last week due to a press tour in Holland (more details to come), but during my quick game of catch-up this morning, one particular item caught my eye. The Provincial Court of Alberta has penalized Statoil Canada Ltd. $190,000 for contravening the terms of its water licence--between December 15, 2008 and May 29, 2009 near Conklin, investigators found that water diverted from waterbodies was not covered by the company’s temporary diversion licence, more water was diverted than permitted and water diversions were not monitored as [...]

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