Canada's water can't be taken for granted



    OTTAWA, April 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians can no longer take for granted
boundless quantities of clean, fresh water. To prevent local water challenges
from becoming a widespread crisis, a new Conference Board report makes six
recommendations to improve governance and management of Canadian water.
    "Canada's freshwater resources are less available than we think. In many
regions, water quality and quantity are already under stress," said Gilles
Rhéaume, Vice-President, Public Policy. "Across North America, the answer to
water scarcity is not trade, but better water governance and management.
    "We need to resist pressure for bulk water diversions, while
strengthening our governance and management institutions to address the
stresses on our water resources. These pressures are coming from growing
urbanization, industrial and natural resource development, and a changing
climate."
    The findings in Navigating the Shoals: Assessing Water Governance and
Management in Canada are based on case studies of five Canadian watersheds-the
Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifer and the Okanagan Basin in British Columbia, the South
Saskatchewan River Basin, the Grand River Watershed in southern Ontario, and
the Ottawa River Basin. Each of these case study watersheds cross multiple
jurisdictions, which make managing water resources challenging.
    The research found that water managers often do not have clear policy
direction, required information or mandates for action needed to effectively
manage the resource. Each of the five watersheds has strengths in its
management and governance structures, and all have areas for improvement. The
six recommendations outlined in the report are:
    
    - Clarify governance structures;

    - Encourage a nested approach to watershed governance, where water
      management activity within smaller sub-basins is incorporated into the
      overall watershed operations and decision making;

    - Improve interagency cooperation;

    - Integrate groundwater and surface water management;

    - Prioritize and budget for adequate information to support decision-
      making; and

    - Explore greater use of market-based instruments for water management.
    

    The report is publicly available at www.e-library.ca. It is the first
report published under the banner of the Leaders Forum on Water Resource
Management and Governance, a three year Conference Board initiative made up of
policy-makers, regulators and users that have a stake in this important
resource.




For further information:

For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, (613) 526-3090
ext. 448; corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca


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