Tag Archives: rivers

Canada in need of a national water policy?

1-BLOG WATER ACT

The following article, “Should Canada have a National Water Policy, by Stephen Braun, appeared in the July/Aug 2014 issue of watercanada.

Despite the best efforts of many people who care so much about our national water resources, Canada has no national water policy or strategy. 

hydrologic_cycle

Canada’s creeks, rivers, lakes, and groundwater are governed by a patchwork of laws and regulations, though they cross provincial or territorial boundaries without restriction.
One thing is certain: coming up with a better definition of a national water policy is not going to make it spontaneously materialize. We have defined this issue well and have a good point of reference. What is required now is political will and recognition that such a policy is essential to Canada’s self-interest – and nothing less.
CWRAFor example, the Canadian Water Resources Association took the issue on in 2008 with the release of Toward a Canadian National Water Strategy, authored by well-Rob-de-Loeknown water policy expert Rob de Loe. Yet implementation remains elusive on this subject despite this and other high profile efforts.
More recently, Ralph Pentland and Chris Wood’s 2013 down the drainbook, Down the Drain: How We are Failing to Protect Our Water Resources, explained the unimplemented but ambitious 1987 Federal Water Policy,and that little progress has been seen since federally. Their arguments and facts that our water resources are an issue of national importance and cannot be left to the provinces are compelling. Pentland and Wood stated: “Legislation currently in force and Confederation’s founding documents empower Canada’s federal Crown to take robust action to defend water, waterways, and the life that inhabits them.”
Canada’s past approach to the contrary, the federal government absolutely does have the power to ensure our national water resources are kept healthy and sound. Canada
Canadians might believe this country is advanced in its environmental policy, but we are lagging behind other Image result for environmental protection agency (epa)jurisdictions. Even Republican U.S. President Richard Nixon recognized the importance of a national water policy. He founded
the  Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA), which subsequently led to the Clean Water and Safe DrinkingSAFE WATER ACT Water acts.  Nixon facilitated some pretty ambitious national water protection in a country not known for its love of federal regulation.
Canada’s more recent approach Of discontinuing environmental round-tables, restricting scientists from speaking publicly, and shuttering cottages on certain lakes might seem like the time isn’t ripe for a national water policy. Perhaps the time will never be right exactly, but as water professionals we must continue to advocate for it.

DESMOND TUTUDesmond Tutu visited some of Canada’s northern watersheds this spring. His famous quote, “I am not an optimist, I am a prisoner of hope,” seemed to capture the mood up there. But he said something else.
ch7_11If we apply this insight to a national water policy, it can be seen that the pillars of the bridge are largely in place. They are there as the result of excellent past work of many in this country and within other parts of the world. The reasonableness is in those pillars; it is up to us to build the rest of the bridge—hopefully with more magnanimity than realpolitik—but it must get built. 

 STEPHEN BRAUNStephen Braun is a principal
and water resources engineer
with GeoProcess Research
Associates.

RAINGRID LOGOHe is a founding
partner of RainGrid Inc.

CWRAand is currently the Ontario branch president of
the 
Canadian Water Resources Association.

Related link

http://www.canadians.org/waterpolicy-info 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er3pJzAmouw

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Wolves change the course of rivers – Remarkable video!

WOLVES

The following excerpts are from ‘How Exactly Wolves Change the Course of Rivers’ by Ray Molina of yourdailymedia.com Mar. 1, 2014

…Trophic cascade is when the behavior of top predators have a trickling down effect on their environment. Let’s call these predators the “one percent.”
WOLVES LARGE ANIMALS
The one percent may be vicious killing machines who think only of themselves, but even bad intentions could have good outcomes. We are finding out that their murderous ways can be useful in controlling the over population of herbivores that are eating more than their fair share, which leaves little for a multitude of other animals lower on the food chain.
WOLVES WATER MAMMALS
Eventually there will be plenty of wolves, perhaps even too many, and at some point we may need to protect the rest of the food chain from these top predators.
WOLVES WATER BIRDS
But like most things, if not everything, there’s a time and a place.
WOLVES WATERFALLS
I do wonder about whether or not the Ecosystems would have just found a new way to balance themselves out over time. Who knows how long that might have taken though, or maybe it’s currently happening in ways we cannot yet witness.
WOLVES SCENES
The main culprit of our Eco failures is you and me through our destruction of habitats through land-developing and hunting and pollution. We really blew it, and now we’re trying to cut our losses by celebrating animals that repair our mistakes.

In the video below, Author/Activist George Monbiot describes to an audience at TED the effects of Wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the mid 90’s.
He describes how the wolves, in a relatively short period of time, have transformed the landscape and allowed more varieties of life to flourish. And wolves did it in ways we never expected.
It’s a humbling reminder of just how connected life on this planet really is.

The original TED talk by George Monbiot, gives numerous examples of how “rewilding” our ecosystem can give us back the earth our predecessors had the privilege of experiencing.

NOTE: There are “elk” pictured in this video when the narrator is referring to “deer.” This is because the narrator is British and the British word for “elk” is “red deer” or “deer” for short. The scientific report this is based on refers to elk so we wanted to be accurate with the truth of the story.

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

Narration from TED: “For more wonder, rewild the world” by George Monbiot. Watch the full talk, here: http://bit.ly/N3m62h

Article link – http://www.yourdailymedia.com/post/how-exactly-do-wolves-change-rivers

THE TRICKLE-DOWN EFFECT

The following excerpts are taken from WaterCanada’s July/August issue of, “The Trickle-Down Effect” – Industry, agriculture, and government have voices about water in Alberta. But who speaks for the environment’s needs? by Susan R. Eaton

“Heralded as the economic growth engine of Canada, Alberta has recently discovered that its most strategic resource may not be subsurface oil and gas reserves. Perhaps more critical to future economic development will be the existence of abundant and predictable quantities of water. As the prairie province deals with water allocation for a burgeoning population and expanding industrial sectors – oil sands, agriculture, petrochemicals and power generation – it is feeling the impacts of climate change, including droughts, destructive floods, and reduced contributions from rapidly receding mountain glaciers that feed Alberta’s waterways and aquifers…”

Uploaded by on Dec 7, 2007 – A TV SPOT in a series for the United Nations Canada Water for Life initiative. The Bow River Basin Council and the Oldman Watershed Council are providing leadership and solutions to how water is conserved and protected.  Visit thinkwater.ca for more information.


 “In August 2006, four of five rivers in southern Alberta’s South Saskatchewan River Basin were closed to new water withdrawals, due to over-allocation by the provincial regulator.

In northern Alberta, oil sands companies continue to seek increased allocations from the Athabasca River to support their rapidly expanding, water-intensive bitumen mining and upgrading operations. Current withdrawals may have already compromised the river’s healthy inflow capacity during the low-flow fall and winter months… Critics accuse the Alberta government of approving amendments to senior water licence agreements—often without public input—and of diverting unused volumes of water to third parties, for purposes other than originally intended and to the detriment of Alberta’s waterways. The Province created its Water Act in 2000, legislating, for the first time, the monetization—through the sale, transfer, or carving up of senior water rights—of Alberta’s water resources… Andy Ridge is the director of water policy for Alberta’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development…”

Uploaded by  on Mar 23, 2010 -A short video that explains the upcoming water allocation review. Please visit us http://www.water-matters.org/program/share-the-water

“Water mastery Ridge says, when it comes to meeting that water needs of Alberta’s diverse stakeholders, “it’s always circumstance specific.” “We apply water mastery when there’s an issue,” says Ridge. “Water mastery” is his term to describe the Province’s balancing act of meeting the water needs—current and future. “In tough times, we get involved to ensure that everyone is less harmed,” says Ridge. But tough times have existed for more than a decade in southern Alberta, where the Province has ordered junior water holders to reduce or stop water withdrawals, enabling “first in time, first in right” senior holders to maintain their draws… In 2010, the Province approved a request for an amendment of the City of Calgary’s senior license to divert treated wastewater to a new gas-fired power plant  being built nearby by ENMAX Corporation. In 2007, the Province approved  an amendment to the City of Edmonton’s water senior license, enabling it to sell  wastewater to Petro- Canada Ltd. (now Suncor Energy Inc.) for use in heavy oil  upgrading operations east of the city. In both instances, Donahue explains, the  amendments of senior water licences resulted in negative benefits to Calgary’s  Bow River and to Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River, as wastewater was  diverted for industrial purposes and not returned to the river systems. He adds  that Petro-Canada and ENMAX avoided costly public environmental hearings and  idn’t have to apply for low priority, junior water licenses.   Return it to the  rivers For the past decade, the City of Calgary has encouraged its residents to  conserve water, even providing financial incentives to purchase low flush toilets  and install water meters. However, Calgarians who believed they were  contributing to improving the aquatic health and trout habitat of the Bow River—  billed by Travel Alberta as the world’s premier trout fishing stream – might be  surprised to learn that the water conserved had been sold for industrial users or to  ther municipalities in southern Alberta… The Calgary-based Water  Conservation Trust of Canada is working  toward ensuring conserved water gets  back to the stream…The Trust’s mandate revolves around holding water  conservation licenses. However, according to Ridge, “The concept of a license  that’s being held for the environment – that’s what the Water Conservation Trust  of Canada is promoting – is contained in the Water Act.” To date, only the Province  olds these conservation licenses in trust, but the Water Act doesn’t  specifically prohibit other groups from doing so, too. Just as Alberta’s  homesteaders developed the province in the early 1900s, Bell, a native Albertan, is  ioneering a new vision for prosperity which includes an innovative tool to  achieve the healthy aquatic ecosystems contemplated within the provincial Water  Act. “We’ve spent six years breaking trail,” said Bell, “and we’re close to a  breakthrough.”

Water as a Limited Resource

Got Thirst? Will Alberta’s Water Law leave you high and dry?

COOL THINGS ABOUT WATER – NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

– Very interesting water facts –

National Geographic Kids blog:

http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/greenscene/2011/06/20-cool-things-about-water.html

FUN WATER FACTS

1. The first municipal water filtration works opened in Paisley, Scotland in 1832.
2. More than 79,000 tons of chlorine are used per year in the United States and Canada to treat water.
3. Of all the earth’s water, 97% is salt water found in oceans and seas.
4. Only 1% of the earth’s water is available for drinking water. Two percent is currently frozen.
5. About two thirds of the human body is water. Some parts of the body contain more water than others. For example, 70% of your skin is water.
6. There are more than 56,000 community water systems providing water to the public in the United States.
7. Public water suppliers process 38 billion gallons of water per day for domestic and public use.
8. Approximately 1 million miles of pipelines and aqueducts carry water in the United States and Canada. That’s enough to circle the earth 40 times.
9. About 800,000 water wells are drilled each year in the United States for domestic, farming, commercial, and water testing purposes.
10. Typically, households consume at least 50% of their water by lawn watering. Inside, toilets use the most water, with an average of 27 gallons per person per day.
11. In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that drinking water is safe for human consumption. The Act requires public water systems to monitor and treat drinking water for safety.
12. More than 13 million households get their water from their own private wells and are responsible for treating and pumping the water themselves.
13. Industries released 197 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways in 1990.
14. The average daily requirement for fresh water in the United States is about 40 billion gallons a day, with about 300 billion gallons used untreated for agriculture and commercial purposes.
15. You can survive about a month without food, but only 5 to 7 days without water.
16. Each person uses about 100 gallons of water a day at home.
17. The average five-minute shower takes between 15 to 25 gallons of water.
18. You can refill an 8 oz glass of water approximately 15,000 times for the same cost as a six-pack of soda.
19. An automatic dishwasher uses approximately 9 to 12 gallons of water while hand washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons.
20. If every household in America had a faucet that dripped once each second, 928 million gallons of water a day would leak away.
21. A dairy cow must drink four gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk.
22. One gallon of water weighs approximately 8½ pounds.
23. One inch of rainfall drops 7,000 gallons, or nearly 30 tons of water, on a 60′ x 180′ piece of land.
24. 300 million gallons of water are needed to produce a single day’s supply of U.S. newsprint.
25. A person should consume 2½ quarts of water per day (from all sources of water, food, etc.) to maintain health.
26. A person can live more than a month without food, but only about a week, depending on conditions, without water.
27. 65% of the human body is water, 75% of the human brain is water.
28. 75% of a chicken, 80% of a pineapple, and 95% of a tomato is water.
29. The first water pipes in the U.S. were made of hollowed-out logs.
30. 352 days – record of consecutive days with no measurable precipitation in Sentinel, AZ (Feb 1901 – Jan 1902).
31. The world’s rainiest place is Mt. Wai’ale’ale, Kauai, Hawaii. During an average year, there are only 15 dry days.
32. The water in Lake Tahoe could cover a flat area the size of California 14 inches deep. This amount of water is enough to supply everyone in the U.S. with 50 gallons of water/day for 5 years.
33. Nevada is the driest state in the nation with an average annual rainfall of only about 7 inches