Category Archives: Water Ambassadors Canada

CANADA ~ A WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY

WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY1

“A WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY –  Strategic steps for a more competitive water sector in Canada lead the way to global opportunities” – excerpts taken from the May/June issue of Water Canada by David Crane.

The availability and quality of water is the overarching challenge facing the global community in the 21st century. It is also Canada’s opportunity.

WORLD POPULATIONA world population that is projected to add 2.5 billion people by 2050, a global economy that is forecast to quadruple in this same period, the prospect of adding one billion people to the global middle class, and a sharp increase in the number of people in big cities will mean a an unprecedented demand for water. GLOBE WITH TAPAs well as more people, which will mean much greater need for clean water and sanitation, a bigger population with rising incomes means a much higher level of consumption of food, energy, natural resources, and industrial products—all of which will also increase the demand for water.

CLIMATE CHANGEAdd the expected impact of climate change on the distribution and availability of water, which could leave large numbers of people facing severe water stress, and the threats of drought and floods to food production, and it’s clear water is the most serious challenge we face. We can substitute batteries for oil in automobiles, but there is no substitute for water. So we face a water-stressed world.

WORLD WATER FORUMNeed, however, equals opportunity. The challenge is for Canada to contribute to water strategies and help the world meet the global water challenge. How do we utilize our strengths—the excellence of our engineering and technical Graduates, our proven academic research capabilities, and our innovative companies that can deliver water goods and services to build up a strong water sector—to generate new jobs and competitive companies while helping to meet the overarching global challenge?

WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY3

Steps for a world water strategy: First, Canadians need to raise the level of understanding, not only among policymakers but also among the wider public; that there is an enormous challenge facing the world and that there is also a significant opportunity for Canada, by strengthening our research base and the strength of our companies. This is the first great challenge—to identify our water champions who will provide the leadership to make Canada a water-solutions country. These champions must come not only from academia and our clean water companies but also from the user community, our municipalities, and businesses that need a safe and reliable water supply. Water users have a significant stake in a solutions strategy. OUTDOOR CANADAThere is the risk of complacency due to a widespread public assumption that Canada’s abundant water supply means we don’t face water challenges. Yet Canada itself faces challenges—to improve water quality and sanitation performance, meet the threats of droughts and floods in agricultural lands, ensure the efficient and sustainable use of water in energy and mining industries, meet the water needs of First Nations, and improve water efficiency and conservation technologies and practices in the economy and society. LIGHTBULBMeeting domestic challenges through innovative solutions will strengthen the research base and the capabilities and competitiveness of Canadian water companies. This means efforts to balance federal and provincial budgets must not come at the expense of research or improvements in water infrastructure. Cutting these investments would mean a weaker future Canadian economy. Research and infrastructure spending are investments in a more secure and sustainable future. Another challenge needs to be addressed: How do we grow more small companies into mid-size or large companies? Canada is very successful in starting companies, but many water companies are small and remain small. They face significant challenges in obtaining the capital needed to develop new products or services, pursue new domestic and foreign markets, build the management strengths they need for success, and scale up so that users and systems integrators in Canada and elsewhere are confident in using their products or services. Many promising smaller companies fail to make the transition to significant scale, which means they can become takeover targets by large multinational corporations seeking their proprietary technologies. While federal and provincial programs that support company technology development are important, we also need to find ways to strengthen the equity base of promising Canadian companies. It is equity rather than debt that enables companies to innovate and to pursue new products or markets.

There are many advantages in Canada, including a well-developed research base, a significant number of companies with proprietary technologies and experience in the global marketplace, easy access to the U.S. and Mexican markets (which have huge future water needs), universities and colleges that graduate high-quality engineers and technicians, and some well-targeted government programs to assist small and mid-size companies. Given these strengths, failing to capitalize on them to meet the enormous world need for water solutions would represent a huge lost opportunity for Canada.

DAVID CRANEDavid Crane is an award-winning Canadian writer and the author of Canada as the Water Solutions Country: Defining the Opportunities, a discussion paper published by the Blue Economy Initiative.

Advertisements

WATER AMBASSADORS’ GLOBAL IMPACT

WATER AMBASSADORS1

How two members dug deep to bring sanitation to developing nations – by Susannah Maxcy of Renaissance Winter 2012 magazine.

WATER AMBASSADORS5On the impact Water Ambassadors has had on volunteers: “We’ve had big, macho Canadian men tear up.  When some village person shakes your hand and says, ‘thank you’ for saving the lives of our children, it’s pretty humbling.  It becomes a marker in people’s lives and that will change them forever.  I think people realize the blessing that Canada has.  You will never drink a glass of water out of the tap and think about it the same way again,” Barry expresses.

WATER AMBASSADORS4MAGAccess to water and proper sanitation are easy to take for granted when you live in a country with the world’s largest fresh water supply.  We will neither know what it is like to walk for kilometres to a well nor will we ever know what it is like not to have access to a clean toilet.  Enter Barry Hart, District 18, Haliburton and John P. Smith, District 13, Hamilton-Wentworth, Haldimand whose twists of fate inspired them to change the world one well and one latrine at a time.

… Barry Hart, founder of Water Ambassadors Canada, discusses the pressing need to bring clean water to third world countries … The interview is conducted by Lorna Dueck, host of Listen Up TV, a weekly television program exploring news and current affairs from a Christian worldview ~uploaded to YouTube on Nov 19, 2009

Barry Hart and his wife, Heather Alloway, first heard about the global water crisis 10 years ago at a conference they attended.  “It went from our heads to our hearts.  Within a year we were in Guatemala building a well in a remote location, a little scary at first, but totally blew us away … we remember sitting in the Houston airport coming home.   By memory we were calling people using a phone card back in Canada to try to tell them what we had seen, heard and experienced.  It was absolutely life-changing.”

WATER AMBASSADORS6Upon returning home, Barry and Heather formed the Water Ambassadors of Canada, a faith-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving and providing access to clean water to impoverished communities throughout the world.  Since its inception, Water Ambassadors has sent approximately 300 Canadians to Central America, the Caribbean and Africa to help build wells, install water filtration systems and teach hygiene.  Empowering the communities they help with the tools and knowledge to maintain these systems, Water Ambassadors provides water security in a time of increasing water instability.

… “Access is a big deal, because many of these places, people walk miles to get water from wells.  We repaired on well in November that had been broken for 14 years, which forced the people to walk by that well to get to the next town to get their drinking water … when you fix wells you’re giving them access to clean water close by, or in some cases access to water period, rather than drinking out of the local mud hole.  People totally appreciate it; they know what’s going on.  It’s a matter of their time and their health that you’re giving them … kids can go to school with healthier tummies and a lot of little girls are not spending hours getting water each day,” says Barry.

WATER AMBASSADORS2Get involved.  Are you interested in becoming a water ambassador?  Water Ambassadors offers travel volunteer opportunities in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.  Learn more about Water Ambassadors of Canada at http://www.waterambassadorscanada.org.