RBC Blue Water Project: $2.3 Million in Funding Announced

via PR Newswire:  2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grants announced

June 14, 2013

RBC awards $2.3 million in funding to protect water in cities and towns around the globe

TORONTO-RBC today announced the recipients of the 2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grants, totalling more than $2.3 million in funding for water protection and preservation programs. Awarded on the fourth annual RBC Blue Water Day, the grants support 123 organizations spanning seven countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Jamaica and Turks and Caicos Islands.

“Water is the lifeblood of our planet and vital for our social and economic wellbeing,” said Gord Nixon, president and CEO, RBC. “Since the RBC Blue Water Project was established in 2007, we have committed more than $38 million in grants to some 650 organizations around the world working to protect our most precious natural resource, including the grants we’re announcing today. We are honoured to support the important efforts of this year’s grant recipients, whose projects reflect our new focus on urban water issues.”

In December 2012, the RBC Blue Water Project announced a shift in focus to address a significant, emerging issue that is relevant to the majority of RBC employees and clients – protecting and preserving water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. The 2013-2014 Leadership and Community Action Grants are funding programs that improve urban water quality and efficient use, enhance storm water management and protect and restore urban waterways.

“By 2050, three quarters of the world’s population will live in cities,” explained Alexandra Cousteau, RBC Blue Water Project Ambassador and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. “With more people, our urban water resources will become even more strained than they are today. The 2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grant recipients are working to solve some of the most critical water issues facing our growing communities and helping to ensure we have the clean water we need for the future.”

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CNW: 2013 Recipients of Excellence in Water Stewardship Award

Via: Canada Newswire, March 22, 2013

Council of the Federation Announces First-ever Recipients of Excellence in Water Stewardship Award

OTTAWA, March 22, 2013 /CNW/ – On the occasion of World Water Day, the Council of the Federation (COF) announced today the recipients of the Excellence in Water Stewardship Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement, innovative practice and leadership in the area of water stewardship. This award is presented to organizations, partnerships, businesses, institutions, and community groups in each province and territory across Canada.

Stemming from the Water Charter, adopted by Premiers in August 2010, Premiers have established this new award in recognition that water is critical to human and ecosystem health. A sustainable water supply ensures our communities are liveable and economically viable whether they are large urban centres or remote or rural communities.

“On behalf of all Premiers, I want to congratulate the first-ever recipients of the Council of the Federation Excellence in Water Stewardship Award,” said Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, Chair of the Council of the Federation. “These awards are an important mechanism for change as they bring deserved recognition to the champions of water stewardship and inspire all Canadians to take action.”

The recipients of the 2013 Council of the Federation Excellence in Water Stewardship Award are:

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association – Alberta
Okanagan Water Stewardship Council – British Columbia
Lake Winnipeg Foundation – Manitoba
City of Moncton Automated Water Meter Reading Project – New Brunswick
Atlantic Coastal Action Plan (ACAP) Humber Arm – Newfoundland and Labrador
Sambaa K’e Dene Band – Northwest Territories
Clean Annapolis River Project – Nova Scotia
Centre for Water Resources Studies – Nunavut
City of Kitchener Impervious-area Based Stormwater Utility and Credit Policy – Ontario
Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association – Prince Edward Island
Regroupement pour la protection du Grand lac Saint-François – Québec
Lower Souris Watershed Committee Inc. – Saskatchewan
Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council – Yukon

Each recipient receives a glass award, a monetary prize and a certificate signed by the Premier of their province or territory.

Further information about the Excellence in Water Stewardship Awards can be found at http://www.councilofthefederation.ca.

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Water Canada: Water Quality Forecasting for Better Infrastructure Spending

Via: Water Canada, Posted on October 1, 2012
Written by Greg Rose and Tim Webster

Water resource conflicts are becoming increasingly prevalent as the intensity of competing uses of nearshore environments increases. Given the complexity of environmental systems, successfully managing and cost-effectively addressing these conflicts can be challenging. To address such challenges, a five-partner collaboration, comprising Golder Associates, Esri Canada, the Applied Geomatics Research Group, Scotia Weather Services and GeoNet, is developing and testing a water quality forecasting and infrastructure optimization system piloted in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Basin.

Funded by the Atlantic Innovation Fund of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the research project leverages geospatial technology for advanced mapping and analysis of various factors affecting water quality. When completed, the system will allow municipalities in the basin to focus their infrastructure investment strategies to maximize environmental returns and allow shellfish harvesting to be planned in a way that maximizes existing resources.

The issue

Shellfish harvesting is a key part of the economy of the Annapolis Basin, an arm of the Bay of Fundy in eastern Canada. For the region’s famed Digby clams and other seafood to be marketable, the water from which they are harvested must be sufficiently clean. This can be a challenge given the area’s proximity to sources of potential contamination, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), watershed runoff, and concentrated deposits of fecal matter from seabirds and seals, as well as high tidal flows that can carry contaminants far from the source and render the harvest from some of the basin’s shellfish growing areas (SGAs) temporarily unsafe.

While current legislative controls in Canada, administered via the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP), provide the necessary checks and balances for protecting human health, their application is relatively labour intensive and expensive. Understandably, the current protocols are geared to exercising precaution. This often leads to closures of growing areas, in cases where these have the potential to yield high-quality harvests under optimal environmental conditions. Conversely, where shellfish harvested from non-prohibited areas are identified as contaminated during the testing process, the harvest is inevitably worthless unless it can be purified cost-effectively.

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TorStar: Ontario only province to get an ‘A’ for drinking water: Ecojustice report

via: Toronto Star Published Nov 15 2011
Colin Perkel for The Canadian Press

TORONTO—More than a decade after the Walkerton disaster, much of Canada’s tap water remains at risk from contamination despite initial progress in front-line monitoring and treatment, a new report concludes.

In its third such report released Tuesday, the environmental group Ecojustice warns that while some jurisdictions have stepped up water protection efforts in the past five years, most have not done enough.

In 2000, seven people died and 2,500 fell ill in Walkerton, Ont., when the town’s poorly monitored drinking water was contaminated with E. coli from farm runoff.

The tragedy prompted most provinces to review and revamp their drinking water laws with mixed results — but that burst of enthusiasm has faded in recent years, according to the report.

“In many places, the health of Canadians is still at risk,” the report concludes.

“The lack of recent progress also seems to indicate that the impetus for improved water protection, spurred by events like Walkerton, is on the wane.”

The report called “Waterproof 3” finds only Ontario among the provinces worthy of an A grade for its water protection efforts, while Alberta lags with a C-.

The federal government gets an F for a record that continues to worsen, the report states.

In particular, the report criticizes Ottawa for a lack of progress on the legislative front, poor water quality for First Nations, and budget cuts it says will hurt Environment Canada’s ability to monitor the situation.

“The federal government is failing in almost every aspect of water protection, even though it should be setting rigorous standards,” the report says.

For the first time, the report has expanded to include source-water protection efforts — the idea that the best way to provide safe tap water is to ensure the water does not get contaminated in the first place.

The findings are not encouraging.

“Full-fledged source-water protection — a critical first step in achieving safe drinking water systems — has been implemented to some degree in only seven of 13 provinces and territories,” the report states.

“(It) is notably lacking in industry-heavy areas where the risk of contamination is high.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more

For more information, please contact:

Kimberly Shearon, communications coordinator | Ecojustice
604.685.5618 x 242 | 778.988.1530
kshearon@ecojustice.ca

Sutton Eaves, communications director | Ecojustice
778.829.3265
seaves@ecojustice.ca

POLIS Project: A Blueprint for Reinventing Rainwater Management in Canada’s Communities

Via: POLIS Project on Ecological Governance – Water Sustainability Project (WSP)

Most of Canada’s communities manage stormwater runoff in a way that is not sustainable in the long term. Flooded streets and basements, degraded urban streams, increasing impacts of a changing climate, and expensive drainage infrastructure that demands constant maintenance are all evidence that we must learn to better integrate the water cycle into urban areas.

Peeling Back the Pavement: A Blueprint for Reinventing Rainwater Management in Canada’s Communities is the latest in POLIS’ water sustainability handbook series for decision makers, community leaders, and municipal water management staff.

Rethinking the way we deal with rain and snowmelt in our cities means replacing conventional pipe-and-convey systems with an approach that recognizes rainwater as a valuable resource while, at the same time, reducing runoff volume and improving runoff quality. Peeling Back the Pavement outlines the problems with conventional stormwater management and examines solutions for moving toward sustainability.

It provides a comprehensive blueprint that outlines the crucial steps necessary to change the way communities manage and, importantly, govern stormwater. The blueprint describes detailed actions that local and senior levels of government can take to move from the current system of stormwater management to one focused on rainwater as a resource.

The handbook is alive with examples and case studies demonstrating leading practice and on-the-ground results from across Canada and beyond. A main focus is addressing the fragmented responsibility for fresh water across and within jurisdictions—one of the greatest challenges to reinventing rainwater management.

Author(s): Susanne Porter-Bopp, Oliver M. Brandes & Calvin Sandborn with Laura Brandes

See also:

Canada Water Network / Reseau Canadien de l’eau – WEBINAR: Creating a Blue Dialogue — POLIS Water Sustainability Project
http://www.cwn-rce.ca/news-and-events/webinar-creating-a-blue-dialogue-polis-water-sustain-project/

Shared Water, One Framework: What Canada Can Learn from EU Water Governance
http://poliswaterproject.org/story/421

University of Waterloo – Water Institute, Events page http://water.uwaterloo.ca/news_events.aspx

FLOW Speaking Tour Underway Urging Policy Makers to Embrace Water Protection

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University is hosting  The Forum for Leadership on Water  (FLOW)’s “Northern Voices, Southern Choices: Water Policy Lessons for Canada” cross-country tour on October 25, 2011. During the event, Bob Sandford, a leading water expert, will discuss the need for significant water policy reform.

“The days when Canadians take an abundance of fresh water for granted are numbered,” warns Sandford, who is the EPCOR Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of the United Nations “Water for Life” Decade.

“Increasing average temperatures, climate change impacts on weather patterns and extensive changes in land use are causing incalculable damage to public infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, and seriously impacting water quantity and quality.”

Sandford emphasizes that floods and water damage caused by climate change will cost governments billions of dollars and threaten economic growth unless significant water policy reform is adopted.

“Governments need a Canada-wide strategy that effectively addresses current and emerging threats to freshwater security,” said Sandford. “We have seen what elements of such a strategy could look like thanks to leadership from the Northwest Territories, but other jurisdictions have to act now.”

FLOW is a national collaborative of water experts that encourages government action to protect critical fresh water resources. The group’s cross-Canada tour, which began in early October and runs to the end of November, aims to demonstrate the need to better prepare for climate change, increase civic engagement and think more strategically about water management.

Deb MacLatchy, Laurier’s vice-president: academic and provost and an aquatic toxicologist, will open the Oct. 25 forum. The panel also includes Stephen Kakfwi, former Northwest Territories premier; David Livingstone, former director, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada; and Chris Burn, NSERC Northern Research Chair, Carleton University.

Laurier and the government of the Northwest Territories signed a 10-year partnership agreement in May, 2010 to collaborate on research and training on climate change and water resource protection. The partnership supports the goals of the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy to ensure that the water of the NWT “remains clean, abundant and productive for all time.”

Laurier hosts the Institute for Water Science and Cold Regions Research Centre – multi- disciplinary research institutes that focus on cold regions and water science research, including public policy and management.

The event takes place Thursday, Oct. 25 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Paul Martin Centre on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. FLOW’s tour is primarily funded by the RBC Blue Water Project.

Tour Cities and Dates

Robert W. Sandford, EPCOR Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of United Nations “Water for Life” Decade, will be speaking at the following places:

Information about the tour dates will be listed as it becomes available.

Generic or specific questions about the tour can be directed to Nancy Goucher.