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Canadians are wasteful users of water, says university report

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Canadians are wasteful users of their most valuable resource -- water - and need to act in unison now to become sustainable in the face of climate change, says a report released by Simon Fraser University.

The report's head author, Bob Sandford, with SFU's Adaptation to Climate Change Team, urged all levels of government to put jurisdictional issues aside and adopt a national water-conservation strategy.

"Climate change impacts on water are real and sustainable, said Sandford. Managing water more carefully is the means of addressing this."

British Columbia is in the process of modernizing its Water Act, which dates back to 1909. Stated objectives include the protection of stream health and aquatic environments, improvement of water governance arrangements, the introduction of more flexibility and efficiency in water allocation, and regulation of groundwater use in priority areas and for large withdrawals.

Sandford, who is also Canadian chairman of the United Nations Water for Life Decade, said B.C. is "very far behind" other jurisdictions both within and outside Canada when it comes to management of water resources.

"You manage groundwater like a country would in the 18th century," he argued, noting the B.C. government seems ready to put groundwater resources at risk through industrial processes such as coal bed methane extraction "without really knowing what's going on down there."

He noted that groundwater and surface water must be managed together, saying it is inappropriate to simply drill into the ground for more water once surface water runs out.

Sandford said he supports water metering as a way to reduce per-capita water usage, provided that no-one is prevented from adequate access to water due to issues of poverty.

Source: Vancouver Sun

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