A Look at Canada’s Clean Water Projects
Welcome back to another installment of your favorite plumbing blog. Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about local issues, but in today’s post I’d like to take a step back from Toronto and discuss a broader topic. Did you know that Canada houses more than 7% of the world’s renewable freshwater supply? That is a lot of water to maintain, and it means that our government is involved in one of the world’s largest clean water projects. Today I’d like to take some time to cover what the Canadian government is doing to safeguard our huge water supply.
What is Environment Canada?
Environment Canada (http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/) is the nation’s department in charge of spearheading efforts for water management, influencing and controlling such areas as pollution control, quality control, clean-up efforts, and research. Among their projects are The Great Lakes Basin clean-up project, monitoring the St. Lawrence River, cleaning up Lake Simcoe and the Georgian Bay, and investing in cleaning up Lake Winnipeg. They monitor our water sources for any toxic agents, and are heavily involved in managing Canada’s wastewater. In short, they are the starting and ending points for just about any discussion on clean water in our nation. Their efforts for safeguarding and developing our water supplies fall into seven major categories:
Covered under the Action Plan for Clean Water, issued in 2007 and 2008, this includes clean-up plans for water resources, and wastewater regulations, covered under:
- The Oceans Action Plan (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/publications/oap-pao/index-eng.asp), and the
- Plan of Action for Drinking Water in First Nation Communities (http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1332195337809)
This is done mostly through regulation of dirty industries, such as the mining industry, and pulps & paper.
Toxic Chemical Management
Also being handled through rigorous regulations to defend our waters from toxic chemicals such as Bisphenol-A, as well as certain phosphates, to combat blue-green algae growth in our lakes and other sources.
Water Quality Monitoring
Environment Canada employs thousands of specialists to sample and monitor our water sources for chemical or biological hazards.
Utilizing the Building Canada Fund, investments are being made across the nation to upgrade and maintain our wastewater treatment facilities, to keep our supplies clean and free of waste.
Investing in the National Water Research Institute
Important research is being performed at the NWRI, providing us with a wealth of scientific information on resolving ecological issues, as well as forecasting potentially hazardous situations to be resolved.
Investments are being made into United Nations projects, as well as projects in neighboring areas that would be of interest to Canada in better understanding certain water quality issues.
Public Education on Water Conservation
The Canadian Government is also involved in educating the general public on the importance of water conservation. Through classes and information offered on-line, they attempt to explain the importance of metering, leak detection, leak repair, and the use of energy efficient technology in our homes. In the future, more municipalities may switch from a flat-rate pay structure for water to structures that promote conservation, by raising costs as usage is increased. In order to ease this transition, the government is starting a public awareness campaign to promote awareness of the conservation issues that these pay rate changes are intended to combat.
What You Can Do
Reducing water usage is one huge thing that you can do at home to help out with our government’s conservation efforts. Use common sense whenever you are operating your plumbing fixtures. Flush the toilet only when necessary. Turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth. Don’t operate the washing machine without a full load. Water your lawn at night to prevent evaporation.
We’ll continue this discussion next week with a post on conserving water by making repairs and retrofitting your plumbing fixtures.