Canada has an abundance of freshwater but there are many human pressures placing stress on our freshwater resources. We need to ensure that we protect water, both as a fundamental human right and to protect the ecosystems upon which we all depend. We must also take measures to be more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as flooding and drought.
Environment and Climate Change Canada is seeking public input on current and future freshwater management in Canada. This consultation will be open until May 31, 2021.
This consultation is seeking input on the freshwater challenges faced by our country, and the role a new Canada Water Agency could play in keeping freshwater safe.
The government has previously announced its intention to create a new Canada Water Agency to work together with the provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, local authorities, and scientists, to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean, and well-managed.
We have experienced the consequences of inadequate water management and extreme weather events here in Nanaimo-Ladysmith. In Yellowpoint, the local aquifer is so depleted that it is now routine for people’s wells to dry up completely during the summer months. The RDN garbage dump contaminated the groundwater on Snuneymuxw reserve number two. For years the residents endured the burden and expense of having water trucked in. The City of Nanaimo has finally extended water services to that reserve. Stz’uminus has limited access to fresh water and will have to spend millions to secure an adequate supply before the community can expand to meet the needs of their growing population.
In Nanaimo our drinking water comes from upstream sources that have been degraded from logging, deforestation, and soil erosion. Our new South Fork Water Treatment Plant was built to clean this water. Many community members will remember the storm in December 2018 when the South Fork plant was knocked offline and limited our water supply for two days. This event was a clear demonstration of why we must ensure we have a safe and well-managed water supply.
I encourage constituents in Nanaimo-Ladysmith to submit your ideas to this consultation, either through the government’s interactive consultation platform, or by writing an email - https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/corporate/transparency/consultations/protecting-canada-fresh-water.html