OTTAWA, March 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, issued the following statement on World Water Day 2013:
"The United Nations first declared March 22, World Water Day, in 1993. It is as relevant as ever in 2013. Today, we are encouraged to reflect on the importance of our water resources globally, and how to protect them. Each and every day, water lies at the centre of our well-being, and is critical to our transportation needs and many recreational activities.
"'Water cooperation' is the theme for this year's World Water Day. The Government of Canada cooperates with many partners domestically and internationally, from coast to coast to coast, to address water issues.
"The Great Lakes provide drinking water to 8.5 million Canadians and help facilitate $180 billion in trade every year between Canada and the United States. To manage the risk to this essential water system, we collaborated with the United States to update the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, recently embarking on the first step—the $16 million Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative. It will help to address the complex problems of nearshore water quality and ecosystem health in the Great Lakes.
"We continue to support clean-up efforts in Lake Simcoe, renewing funding with $29 million over the next five years to restore populations of native fish and wildlife by improving habitats.
"We are also addressing issues at Lake Winnipeg. Last summer we launched the $18 million investment of Phase II of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative. Our goal is to restore its ecological health, reducing pollution from sources such as agriculture, industry and wastewater.
"Working together, Canada and Alberta have made good progress through the Joint Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring. Scientists and technical experts are implementing major enhancements to water monitoring in the Athabasca River and the surrounding region's bodies of water as one of the key components described in the Joint Plan.
"Our work continues along one of our major ecosystems and trade corridors. In partnership with Quebec, the St. Lawrence Action Plan will ensure more progress with agricultural, urban and industrial clean-up initiatives; biodiversity conservation; and improving the health of natural habitats affected by contaminants in the river.
"Water management remains a shared responsibility. The Government of Canada recognizes that individuals, organizations and communities are involved in the stewardship of our waterways. We appreciate that Canadians have, in fact, made valuable contributions—some with the help of federal funding programs, such as EcoAction.
"Our health and that of our environment and economy is inextricably tied to the health of our waterways. The Government of Canada is making the viability of our water resources for future generations a priority."
SOURCE: Environment Canada
For further information:
Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Director of Media Relations
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Environment Canada's Twitter page: http://twitter.com/environmentca
Environment Canada's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/environmentcan
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