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The (Somewhat) New Lineup

Posted on May 18, 2011
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his new cabinet today. Water crosses several ministries--here's a quick who's who rundown. New to the role Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (formerly Gail Shea) Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities (formerly Chuck Strahl) Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources (formerly Christian Paradis) Continuing his/her role Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal [...]

A Game of Balance

Posted on May 11, 2011
By now, you’ll have heard about the growing opposition to Ontario’s most recent quarry proposal for Melancthon Township in the northwest corner of Dufferin County. For several groups and opponents, water protection is one of the biggest issues at stake. After a number of requests to cover the quarry and its potential impacts, I spent some time looking into the issues. What did I find? In short, several cans of worms. Here are two: Can #1: Your opinion is important to us In addition to raising significant concern in social media outlets, Lake Ontario [...]

The Next Four Years

Posted on May 6, 2011
On the eve of the election, David R. Boyd asked Victoria Times Colonist readers why we were on the brink of "electing a Conservative government whose platform provides more details about celebrating Canada's victory in the War of 1812 than protecting the air and water upon which life and health depend." "The Conservatives have done little to protect water and make no new promises in their platform," he wrote. "The Liberals promise a national freshwater strategy, which is long overdue, and substantial dollars for cleaning up polluted water bodies [...]

Voting Day

Posted on May 2, 2011
It's the big day! If you haven't already cast your ballots, we hope you make good use of the few remaining opening hours at the polling stations. Watch for detailed post based on tonight's results later this week. In the meantime, if you haven't voted on our online poll about water and the election, check out the results here and tell us what you think. [...]

Small-Scale Water Systems Take on Drought, Urban Decay, and Climate Change

Posted on April 26, 2011
Written by Alex Aylett
By 2025 two-thirds of the global population will live in conditions of at least moderate water stress. According to an interesting piece by Howard LaFranchi in the CS Monitor, community-scale systems—not mega-projects—may provide solutions for a thirsty world. I've written about the value of decentralized neighbourhood or community scale infrastructure before.  When it comes to renewable energy, talking about the efficiencies that result from generating energy closer to where it's used is becoming old hat. There's interest both in North America [...]

The Flood from Above

Posted on April 20, 2011
Today Vicki Burns posted this North Dakota National Guard aerial video of the major flooding occurring along the Red River. We see this devastation annually in Canada's Prairie region, but Burns says that this year's event is being called Manitoba's second-worst flood in 150 years—30 municipalities have declared states of emergencies, 80 provincial roads are affected, and 500 municipal roads are closed." A picture is worth a thousand words," she writes. And she's right—you can't quite comprehend the flood's scale until you see it from this perspective. Yesterday [...]

Paddling Together, Propelling Forward

Posted on April 18, 2011
Written by Jennifer Jackson
This year, the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) celebrates 25 years of service to the municipal water sector. Our core members are municipalities, utilities and commissions who provide water and wastewater services. We also serve private sector consultants, equipment suppliers, academics, environmental non-governmental organizations and individuals. CWWA represents and support those who provide, nurture and manage vital, yet largely invisible, services to small and large communities and First Nations from sea to sea to sea. CWWA [...]

Election Apathy?

Posted on April 8, 2011
Written by Todd Latham
Canadians don’t care about the environment, not really. We are so blessed with natural resources, clean water and open spaces that we don’t think there is anything wrong. It’s the frog in heating water scenario—we won’t know how bad it is until it’s too late to jump out and do something about it. Because of this laissez-faire attitude, Canada’s voter apathy is high, especially with four elections over seven years. Our last election had something like a 34 per cent turnout—we don’t even care enough to vote! The Green Party is toothless [...]

In the Eye of the Beholder

Posted on April 1, 2011
Should design play a role in water sustainability? That's one of the questions panellists handled at the Daniels Faculty's Out of Water: Sustaining Development in Arid Climates conference this morning at University of Toronto. "Yes, design should play a role," said Antoine Picon of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. "One role of design is to make sustainability desirable—if sustainability is only about punishment, it's not going to be any fun! Another role is to make the alternatives legible for a broader audience." Alon Tal, Ben Gurion University [...]

Budget 2011: Not Much on the Water Front

Posted on March 23, 2011
If Environment Minister Peter Kent's speech at the recent Connecting Water Resources conference in Ottawa was any indication, we weren't about to see any announcements of new money flowing into water-related areas in the 2011 Federal Budget Plan yesterday afternoon. Sure enough, we didn't, really--but there may be a few indirect benefits if this budget does hold. The $2-billion federal Gas Tax Fund would be made permanent and help municipalities to fix aging water infrastructure. Sustainable Development Technology Canada, which helps bring clean [...]
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