Tag Archives: Sustainability


The following excerpts are taken from the September/October issue of Water Canada‘s magazine article by Rick Williams and Luke Dineley. 

Read the full article at: http://watercanada.net/2012/turn-of-the-century/

British Columbia has plans to update its 100-year-old Water Act and finally regulate groundwater use… It’s almost impossible nowadays to open a newspaper… without finding at least one article or report focussing on the criticisms of shale gas development, particularly as it relates to the heavy reliance on water… Concerns over water are the forefront of the debate on multi-stage hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fracking’), the key technology behind the recent shale gas boom.  in British Columbia, an over 100-year-old (…outdated) Water Act is seen by some as an impediment to water protection in the province.

The stated objective of the proposed Water Sustainability Act is to focus the legislative framework on risk, competing demands, and scarcity of water, and to implement an area-based approach to water management… policy goals include: protecting aquatic environments, regulating groundwater use, regulating use during scarcity, improving security, water-use efficiency and conservation…

The Water Sustainability Act will differentiate between groundwater users making large withdrawals. Regulation of large groundwater users will be stricter: all existing and new large groundwater users will be required to obtain a licence…smaller groundwater users, by contrast will not be required to obtain a license…The categorization of a large withdrawal is … expected to be in the range of 250 to 500 cubic metres per day for wells in unconsolidated aquifers, and 100 cubic metres per day for wells in bedrock aquifers… after a long process, the Province has indicated that it is moving to bring the proposed Water Sustainability Act in the legislature… time is running short.  With the next provincial election set for  May 2013… whether it is the proposed Water Sustainability Act , the Water Act will be replaced….

Conservation, Efficiency and Security of Water in BC is discussed in the latest blog for the Living Water Smart blog. Join the conversation here: http://blog.gov.bc.ca/livingwatersmart

Living Water Smart Team member Ted White explains the Water Sustainability Act framework and invites you to participate in building a sustainable future for British Columbia’s water. This video outlines the seven key proposed policy directions: Protect stream health and aquatic environments, Consider water in land-use decisions, Regulate groundwater use, Regulate during scarcity, Improve security, water use efficiency and conservation, Measure and report water use, Enable a range of governance approaches. To comment on the WSA, and to join the conversation on the proposed Water Sustainability Act, visit http://blog.gov.bc.ca/livingwatersmart

In the Living Water Smart blog, Ted White asks for your comments on governance approaches around water sustainability. Join the conversation here: http://blog.gov.bc.ca/livingwatersmart


 MARCH 22, 2012




International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.


Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. On this page, we present a brief overview of the different themes that have been the focus of World Water Day celebrations.

See web site for New Animation on the Water Cycle!

When large quantities of water are diverted or taken out of the natural system this affects the local surface water supply, which, in the long run, affects the ecosystem, plants and animals, as well as the local communities. . .

There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. Statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat: producing 1 kilo of beef for example consumes 15,000 litres of water while 1 kilo of wheat ’drinks up’ 1,500 litres.


When a billion people in the world already live in chronic hunger and water resources are under pressure we cannot pretend the problem is ‘elsewhere’. Coping with population growth and ensuring access to nutritious food to everyone call for a series of actions we can all help with:•follow a healthier, sustainable diet;

•consume less water-intensive products;

•reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!

•produce more food, of better quality, with

less water.

At all steps of the supply chain, from producers to consumers, actions can be taken to save water and ensure food for all.


And you? Do you know how much water you actually consume every day? How can you change your diet and reduce your water footprint?

Join the World Water Day 2012 campaign “Water and Food Security” and find out more!




Posted on June 21, 2011

Photo: Liam Richards

Dr. Monique Dubé has won Canadian Geographic‘s 2011 Environmental Scientist of the Year Award for her contributions to aquatic ecosystem research. Dubé is the Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Ecosystem Health Diagnosis, an associate professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, and the leader of a CWN-funded project that assesses the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems.

Dubé’s project assesses the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems. She and her research team are developing a framework to conduct cumulative effects assessments across five Canadian watersheds. The results from this four-year study will be integrated into a decision-support software tool called THREATS — The Healthy River Ecosystem AssessmenT System—which will be used by researchers and conservation authorities to better protect and manage water resources.

“Our limitation is not science,” said Dubé at last April’s Munk School event on water management in the oilsands. “We know what needs to be done. But we are being ignored.”



Dr. Monique Dubé receives 2011 Saskatoon YWCA Women of Distinction Award

Dr. Monique Dubé has received the 2011 YWCA Saskatoon Women of Distinction Award in the science, technology and research category.

Dr. Dubé is an adjunct professor at the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick and the leader of a CWN-funded project that assesses the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems.

With CWN support, Dr. Dubé and her pan-Canadian research team are developing a framework to conduct cumulative effects assessments on lakes and rivers across Canada.

The results from the framework will be compared across watersheds and then integrated into a software-based decision-support tool called THREATS — The Healthy RiverEcosystem AssessmenT System — to be used by researchers and conservation authorities to better protect and manage our water resources.

“We are proud to honour women who are doing so much to strengthen our community,” said Barb Macpherson, executive director of YWCA Saskatoon.

“These incredible women remind us that each person has great potential and our role in this community is to support women and families to reach their potential and rise above challenging circumstances.”

Eleven Saskatoon women were recipients of the prestigious awards for contributions to the community and outstanding achievements in their respective fields.

Congratulations on a well-deserved honour, Monique!


Dr. Monique Dubé

Many of Canada’s rivers are being degraded through urban and industrial development and other human activities. What are the effects of dumping effluent into rivers? How much can these crucial lifelines withstand before they cross a critical line, a point of no return?

Dr. Monique Dubé – Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Aquatic Ecosystem Health Diagnosis at the University of Saskatchewan – has created the Healthy River Ecosystem Assessment System (THREATS) to help answer these questions. This nationally recognized framework and related software can identify when important changes have occurred in the quality of the water in rivers and in the health of the river’s bugs and fish. Her approach also involves a mobile laboratory for use at ‘hot spot’ sites on the rivers in order to track changes over time. The ultimate goal is providing the information essential to forming policies to keep waterways healthy.

Dr Dubé is committed to teaching and training young scientists so they can make a positive contribution to protecting our environment.

Her commitment to keeping Canadian waters the treasures that they are is reflected in the numerous research projects and publications (over 50) she has undertaken. Dr Dubé has also received international recognition for development of bioassays for assessing effects of pulp mill, mine, and sewage wastes on river health, including most recently the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council‘s Synergy award.

Dr Dubé is also committed to teaching and training young scientists so they can make a positive contribution to protecting our environment. She has taught numerous University courses and developed an undergraduate course on water quality assessment, water pollution, wastewater treatment, and issues relating to environmental management and professional ethics. She is currently developing a graduate level course in experimental design and statistics.

Dr Dubé has also been described as an inspirational role model for young women scientists in research. She had two children while completing her Ph.D. and wants to help create a flexible learning environment so others can be equally successful.

In addition, Dr Dubé is known for working with communities, regulators, and industries to develop solutions to local issues. Her focus is on applying science to serving the public good.

  See also: http://www.usask.ca/crc/profiles/dube.php

Based on submission by Dr. Dubé’s graduate students: Carrie Rickwood, Jason Inkster, Allison Squires and Lauren Clarke.


‘Miracle tree’ substance produces clean drinking water inexpensively and sustainably.

January 19, 2012

“Antimicrobial Sand via Adsorption of Cationic Moringa oleifera Protein”

A natural substance obtained from seeds of the “miracle tree” could purify and clarify water inexpensively and sustainably in the developing world, where more than 1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, scientists report. Research on the potential of a sustainable water-treatment process requiring only tree seeds and sand appears in ACS’ journal Langmuir.

Stephanie B. Velegol and colleagues explain that removing the disease-causing microbes and sediment from drinking water requires technology not always available in rural areas of developing countries. For an alternative approach, Velegol looked to Moringa oleifera, also called the “miracle tree,” a plant grown in equatorial regions for food, traditional medicine and biofuel. Past research showed that a protein in Moringa seeds can clean water, but using the approach was too expensive and complicated. So Velegol’s team sought to develop a simpler and less expensive way to utilize the seeds’ power.

To do that, they added an extract of the seed containing the positively charged Moringa protein, which binds to sediment and kills microbes, to negatively charged sand. The resulting “functionalized,” or “f-sand,” proved effective in killing harmful E. coli bacteria and removing sediment from water samples. “The results open the possibility that … f-sand can provide a simple, locally sustainable process for producing storable drinking water,” the researchers say.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

SOURCE: American Chemical Society