Saskatchewan aims to protect water from source to tap with 25-year plan

via: The Canadian Press
Published Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

The Saskatchewan government has outlined a 25-year plan that it says will protect water supplies from the source to the tap.

The 25 Year Saskatchewan Water Security Plan has seven goals:

  • Sustainable Supplies
  • Safe Drinking Water
  • Protection of Water Resources
  • Safe Dams
  • Flood and Drought Damage Reduction
  • Adequate Data, Information and Knowledge
  • Effective Governance and Engagement

The Vision Statement of the Plan,”Water supporting economic growth, quality of life and environmental well-being” is supported by the following principles:

Long-Term Perspective: Water management decisions will be undertaken within the context of a 25-year time horizon.

Water for Future Generations: A sustainable approach to water use will protect the quality and quantity of water now and for the future.

Integrated Approach to Management: Water decisions will integrate the multiple objectives and information pertaining to the economic development, ecological, hydrological, human health, and social aspects of water, considering circumstances and needs that may be unique to a watershed or region, to achieve a balanced outcome.

Partnerships and Participation: The provincial government will facilitate collaboration in the development and implementation of water management decisions.

Shared Responsibility: All residents, communities and levels of government share responsibility for the wise use and management of water.

Value of Water: Water is essential to life and will be treated as a finite resource that is used efficiently and effectively to best reflect its economic, social, and environmental importance.

Continuous Improvement: Water management will be adaptive and supported by sound monitoring, risk assessment, evaluation, research, innovation, and best practices.

The province says conservation is critical and could be achieved through pricing strategies.

But the plan adds that new reservoirs, pipelines and canals may also be necessary to meet demand.

Water demand is highest in the southern part of the province because of industrial development such as potash mines.

Other goals include ensuring dams meet water supply and management needs safely and making sure measures are in place to respond to floods or drought.

“We want to ensure there is a sustainable water supply available to support our growth, a healthy environment and our quality of life,” Ken Cheveldayoff, minister responsible for the new Water Security Agency, said Monday.

Saskatchewan’s new Water Security Agency will report annually on how the plan is working.

 

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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