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The Woman Who Became the Voice for the Children in the Flint Water Crisis

Posted on January 27, 2016
Written by Jan Johnston Osburn
I’ve been following the events of the Flint water crisis with sheer disbelief. Being an American, I know that we take many things for granted in the U.S. But, clean water? Clean water? Well, it’s always been our right, our expectation. What has happened in Flint seems almost unfathomable. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all. If you are not familiar with the events, I’d encourage you to review the timeline and circumstances. While the details are still being sorted out and the blame game heats up, there’s one woman we need to thank [...]

Half Life: Hospital Radioactive Materials and Our Water

Posted on January 5, 2016
Written by Saul Chernos
While Canadian hospitals generally return leftover medications to the pharmacy for disposal, trace amounts end up in waterways through municipal sewer systems. The situation with radioactive materials used in nuclear medicine is somewhat the same. Peter Fundarek, director of the nuclear substances and radiation devices licensing division of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), said that rules and principles guide the disposal of radioactive materials. The isotopes hospitals handle are usually short lived compared with those from power plants [...]

Interview: Christiaan Welzel's Nature Porn

Posted on December 31, 2015
Filmmaker and creative director Christiaan Welzel captured some dramatic aerial footage of lakes in rivers in western Canada in his hugely popular online  series “Earth Porn.” Water Canada connected with Welzel, while he and his wife Kseniya were shooting a film in Thailand, to discuss the series and the source of his inspiration. Water Canada (WC): What inspired the Earth Porn series? Christiaan Welzel (CW): One of my clients in the ad industry is Travel Alberta (Alberta Tourism). Naturally, when we market Alberta as a destination, we showcase [...]

The Interview: Marq de Villiers, author of Back to the Well

Posted on December 15, 2015
Fifteen years after the publication of Water, Marq de Villiers examines the politics of water—from its personal and commercial uses, to the impact of climate change and global conflicts in his new book: Back to the Well: Rethinking The Future of Water. Marq de Villiers is an award-winning writer and journalist. He is the author of fifteen books, including Water: The Fate of our Most Precious Resource (winner of the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction); Sahara: The Life of the Great Desert; Windswept: The Story of Wind and Weather; and Sable Island: [...]

Das Wasser, Mit Infrastruktur: Highlights From A Water Tour of Germany

Posted on December 10, 2015
Written by By Todd Latham, Publisher of Water Canada
Between Nov. 22-28, 2015 I was invited to join a group of media representatives on a seven-day tour of Germany to see the country’s innovations in water infrastructure. We packed in more site visit and presentations than I have space to describe in this blog, so I will offer a snapshot of the water-focused highlights of Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin, with more to come.  Welcome to Germany! The direct flight from Toronto to Munich had little scenery except the sunrise-lit clouds over the Celtic Sea. But the next morning we were greeted by the first snowfall [...]

Who's a "Grasshole"?

Posted on December 3, 2015
They call themselves the “Grassholes.” They are an informal (Facebook) group of citizens in Vancouver who have taken it upon themselves to post photos of naughty neighbours and institutions who violate water restrictions, keep pristine lawns, or make decisions about water use that they find unsavoury. Are they water conservation vigilantes who increase civic action against those who are using water irresponsibly, or agitators who escalate tensions in times of drought?  You decide (and tell us what you think).   [...]

Droplet Interview with Ellen Schwartzel, Acting Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Posted on November 22, 2015
On November 3, 2015, Ellen Schwartzel, the acting environmental commissioner of Ontario, released the Commission’s Annual Report for 2014-2015 entitled, “Small Things Matter.” In it, the commissioner makes recommendations to the province regarding approaches to water management. Water Canada spoke to Schwartzel about the report.   Water Canada (WC): The 2015 Annual Report focuses full-cost pricing for water and also the polluter pays principle as tools to generate revenues for the province that could be used to improve water management. How [...]

"So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish"

Posted on November 13, 2015
“Don’t call us a minority. We come from the land. We are the earth, we are the land. The others occupy the land. When you destroy the salmon, you destroy me. The salmon made a commitment to return and to give life. He’s following his law by coming. We are violating our own law by not doing everything we can to get him back.”             -Louie Dick, Jr., a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation (Harrison) Ratified in 1964, the Columbia River Treaty was conceived to tame the river’s floods. In the following [...]

Injecting Creativity Into Engineer Curricula—A Narrative

Posted on November 2, 2015
Natasha is every fourth-year engineer. She’s sitting in an active learning space outfitted with smart boards, collaborative workspaces, rolling chairs, and windows facing east. It’s late afternoon, hour two of a three-hour lecture, and the room’s lit by its five wall-facing projectors. Everyone looks a pale shade of grey. “What will be asked of engineers?” The question is written on the whiteboard, as part of a group assignment. Stock photos depicting what one could expect from searching for “engineering photos” are posted below the question: [...]

The Droplet: Interview: Dream Team behind the Mackenzie River Basin Agreements

Posted on October 20, 2015
The Droplet Interview with Northwest Territories Minister J. Michael Miltenberger and chief legal negotiator, Merrell-Ann Phare On October 15, 2015, British Columbia Minister Mary Polak and Northwest Territories Minister J. Michael Miltenberger signed an agreement committing both governments to co-operatively manage water in the Mackenzie River Basin. Water Canada spoke to Minister Miltenberger and Ms. Phare about the multi-faceted legal process and what we can learn from it. Water Canada (WC): Juggling multiple bi-lateral negotiations—each with [...]

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