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 www.councilofthefederation.ca.

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Recipients of the 2013 Council of the Federation Excellence in Water Stewardship Award

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association - Alberta
The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) is a dynamic and evolving association which represents and advocates the interests of all members to both the provincial and federal governments as well as other provincial and federal organizations. AUMA's goal is to develop a strong partnership between all three levels of government through a shared vision with long term planning that would facilitate social and economic growth, a strategic and stable funding matrix for capital projects, vital emergency and social services as well as implementation and coordination in the delivery of these services to ensure the sustainability of the Alberta Advantage. The Association was presented with this award for their Water Conservation, Efficiency and Productivity (CEP) Plan.

Okanagan Water Stewardship Council - British Columbia
The Okanagan Water Stewardship Council was established in 2006 to draw upon local water expertise and improve long-term decision making in one of Canada's most water-stressed regions.  A national leader in collaborative water stewardship, the Council advises the Okanagan Basin Water Board - and through them, local and senior governments - to find solutions that work for all.  With 26 volunteer members representing a wide range of interests, diversity is one of the Council's major strengths. The Council's vision is for clean and healthy water in sufficient abundance to support the Okanagan's natural ecosystems, agricultural lands and high quality of life: now, and for future generations.  Accurate, up-to-date water information, science, and traditional ecological knowledge are the foundation of resilient community and regional planning in a time of change.

Lake Winnipeg Foundation - Manitoba
In 2004, a group of citizens concerned about the health of Lake Winnipeg met to establish a foundation to "identify and support solutions that restore and protect the health of Lake Winnipeg and its watershed through research, public education, advocacy, stewardship and collaboration."  In eight years, the Foundation has grown from a group of ten concerned citizens to an influential and motivated grassroots environmental non-government organization with hundreds of members, a dedicated volunteer executive and a highly regarded science advisory council.  They are committed to finding solutions, working collaboratively, ensuring honest and transparent activities and leading by example. The Lake Winnipeg Foundation is a leader in water stewardship not only in Manitoba, but throughout the Lake Winnipeg Watershed.

City of Moncton Automated Water Meter Reading Project - New Brunswick
The City of Moncton is committed to protecting and conserving their water supply along with reducing their water usage.  They are proud to be the first in Canada to have completed a full installation of the Radio Frequency Fixed Network System consisting of meter transmission units in approximately 20,000 residential and 1,400 commercial, industrial and institutional users to monitor water usage and leakage.  This system has had a significant impact in decreasing the amount of water that is consumed and that is lost through leaks and breaks.  For example, using this system they analyzed data in a school district and results showed fluctuations in water consumption between schools.  A number of plumbing issues were discovered and repairs resulted in reduced water wastage and lower bills.

Atlantic Coastal Action Plan (ACAP) Humber Arm - Newfoundland and Labrador
ACAP Humber Arm is a not-for-profit organization that began in 1991, serving the Bay of Islands and Humber Valley regions of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  The organization established itself as regional leader in water stewardship, focusing its efforts in areas of marine water quality, water conservation, environmental education, knowledge sharing, and partnership development.  To promote water stewardship, the organization has developed and implemented several innovative hands-on education programs for youth, including the Trading Books for Boats program, Marine Debris program, and Environmental Explorer Camps.  The organization also promotes water stewardship among stakeholders through their Smart Basin initiative, which facilitates partnership development and information sharing between municipalities, government, academic institutions, NGOs, industry, and First Nation groups.

Sambaa K'e Dene Band - Northwest Territories
Saamba K'e, meaning "trout lake place" in Slavey Dene, is the community on the shore of Trout Lake in southern NWT. Community members, including Chief Dolphus Jumbo and Senior Administrative Officer Ruby Jumbo, linked contamination at their landfill with water stewardship. They rounded up more than 50 drums and were able to move out 44 drums to a registered receiving facility. The contaminants, including used oil and flammable liquids, were stored in rusty drums that could leak into the ground, groundwater, and ultimately Trout Lake. 8000 litres of liquid were shipped out. The community continues to work on managing contaminants in their community. This is an excellent example of source water protection, which will encourage other communities to undertake similar activities to protect their water and talk about local water stewardship.

Clean Annapolis River Project - Nova Scotia
The Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP) is a charitable environmental organization located in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Founded in 1990, their mission is to enhance the ecological health of the Annapolis River watershed through science, leadership and community engagement. Since 1990 the organization has seen many tangible successes including the removal of a derelict dam and restoration of riparian habitat for Atlantic salmon, 21 years of citizen science water quality monitoring, aquatic connectivity and fish habitat assessments related to culverts, agricultural programs, as well as species at risk research. Most recently CARP launched a community based social marketing program targeting water behaviours in rural homes such as drinking water testing and septic system maintenance to build capacity on the importance of sustainable rural water practices.

Centre for Water Resources Studies - Nunavut
The Centre for Water Resources Studies (CWRS) was established in 1981 by the Faculty of Engineering at Dalhousie University to address water issues facing Canada through applied research. The objective of the Centre is to pool the research resources of Dalhousie University to address real challenges faced by the water community and provide a platform for the development and appropriate application of water technology; water quality analysis and advancement; and outreach through knowledge transfer to their stakeholders. In 2010, CWRS partnered with the Government of Nunavut to develop a wastewater research project in six Nunavut communities. They are in their third year of this five year project studying cold climate passive wastewater treatment systems and their impacts on the environment. In 2012, CWRS expanded their research to also monitor potable water quality from source-to-tap in these remote communities.

City of Kitchener Impervious-area Based Stormwater Utility and Credit Policy - Ontario
Kitchener is moving forward with an innovative and sustainable strategy to fund its Stormwater Management program. This strategy is ensuring the protection of the city's important water resources. This approach, which includes a combination of fees and credits for users, provides incentives for property owners who install measures such as oil and grit separators, rain barrels, filter strips, and stormwater management ponds to reduce stormwater run-off. This innovative approach - a first in Canada - is reducing pressure on Kitchener's stormwater management system. Kitchener is a municipal leader in supporting property owners who want to reduce the amount of stormwater and pollutants that enter Ontario's waterways.

Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association - Prince Edward Island
The Winter-River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association was formed in 2008 to protect and enhance the Winter River and Tracadie Bay watersheds. Initial work focused on stream and riparian zone enhancement, but the group recognized that the withdrawal of ground water from the Winter River watershed in order to supply the City of Charlottetown was having a negative impact on habitat. Along with restoration activities, the Association has carried out educational initiatives in the schools, developed a video series "Save some water for me please," and participated in radio and television interviews to inform the public about the need to conserve water. Group members have used newspaper articles to challenge Charlottetown residents to reduce water usage and challenge the city to introduce regulations to reduce water usage at critical periods of the year.

Regroupement pour la protection du Grand lac Saint-François - Québec
The Association for the Protection of Lake Saint-François (Regroupement pour la protection du Grand lac Saint-François/RPGLSF), a key regional force, has developed a strategic vision of integrated water management for all stakeholders concerned about this watershed. The RPGLSF has also implemented a comprehensive sustainable development action plan in association with, and with the support of, numerous partners. Among other things, this plan sets out steps aimed at conserving water and maintaining water quality. The RPGLSF will supervise the watershed's environmental monitoring in the coming years; this process is particularly important in a context of climate change. Integrated water management and sustainable development, and their relation to climate change, are also areas of shared concern and commitment for the Government of Quebec and the Water Charter.

Lower Souris Watershed Committee Inc. - Saskatchewan
The Lower Souris Watershed Committee has demonstrated strong leadership and innovation in implementing its source water protection plan.  The Committee led development of the first Agri-Environmental Group Farm Plan focused on source water protection.  This work led to investments of $2.5 million in beneficial management actions within the watershed and served as a model for 27 additional group farm plans across Saskatchewan.  The Committee also led an ecological goods and services pilot project, inventoried every wetland greater than a quarter acre in size within the watershed, and partnered in the establishment and operation of a Watershed Evaluation of Beneficial Management Practices research site in the watershed.

Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council - Yukon
The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council is an Indigenous, international, non-profit, grassroots organization consisting of 70+ First Nations and Tribes, dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Yukon River Watershed. The Council's aim is to provide Canadian First Nations and Alaskan Tribes in the Yukon River Watershed with technical assistance, such as facilitating the development and exchange of information, coordinating efforts between First Nations and Tribes, undertaking research, and providing training, education and awareness programs. One of the ways the Council has demonstrated leadership in water stewardship is by building First Nation capacity in water management with its Water Quality Project. Also, local technicians and volunteers have created the Council's Indigenous Observation Network, which is the world's largest Indigenous community-based science network and initiative in water stewardship.

SOURCE: Council of the Federation

For further information:

Catherine MacIsaac
Communications Nova Scotia
902-424-6283
maciscl@gov.ns.ca 

Lindsay de Leeuw
Council of the Federation Secretariat
613-563-4066
lindsay@councilofthefederation.ca

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