The head of the Canadian International Water Institute says that Canadians have to start considering water and energy issues as been bound together thanks to climate change. Putting energy and water issues together puts an whole new meaning to water security.
What is water security? this is what is meant by having the proper volume and quality of water available when you need it, while making sure that Mother Nature also has what she requires. Consider that energy is used to purify and transport water, and water is used to create energy.
Canada’s population and economy has grown considerably over the decades, but our attitudes to water have not changed much. It appears that Canadians have difficulty realizing that we do face real water issues. European waste water standards are tougher than here, water prices are higher, and conservation more pronounced. The average Canadian in a city uses 329 litres of water a day vs a city dweller in Munich, Germany uses 100 litres a day.
Climate change is one reason we will have to change our attitude.
Rainfall patterns on the Prairies are changing. Large scale flooding is causing communities to review their infrastructure. Hydro dams have to review how their dams get filled.
Perhaps because we think we have so much water we don’t realize there might be a problem on the horizon. We should consider that other countries have faced these problems and have come up with solutions that might work for us as well. Ideas in use today are using green energy for irrigation, treating waste water in such a way as to create energy to offset the energy used to filter it for our use. Many solutions save money by making better use of both the water and energy.
Considering the Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates the we have upcoming expenses of some $88 billion for infrastructure, financial considerations will probably drive much of the water/energy nexus. There will most likely be a drive for public /private projects. These can work well or can be huge pitfalls. Done well with transparency from everyone . careful thought , and a good balance between the sides they can work. To reduce the costs water and energy should be considered together.