By looking at water from a new economic perspective, we can begin to notice how its overuse and mismanagment has come to affect our lives directly. Nicholas Parker explains this as a key opportunity for Canada to rise as a global leader in innovative sustainable water solutions.

Opportunity, not calamity

“I choose to see this as an opportunity rather than a calamity,” he asserts. Leadership and vision is a must for the future of the world’s water: as water shortages increase, Canada will occupy a privileged position as a country with significant amounts of this
precious resource.

Canadians are stepping up as global leaders in water technology. A prime example of this is found in companies like Ostara, a Vancouver-headquartered organization that recovers nitrogen and phosphorus from urban waste water and transforms it into an eco-friendly fertilizer. This efficient repurposing becomes both a source of revenue for municipalities and a sustainable, efficient and cost-effective solution for North American agriculture.

“High profile events like the recent flooding in Calgary bring [water security and sustainability] to our attention. I believe that the market can be powerful in profound ways in helping bring us back into balance—but the danger lies in not investing in rational business responses to these events.”

Addressing the issue at its source

Many Canadians believe that our supply of fresh water is unlimited but this could not be further from the truth. “The rate and scale of climate change, population growth and urbanization has led to consumption of natural resources at an unprecedented level,” says Parker, discussing that much of the difficulty surrounding promotion of water security and sustainability hinges on a need for information and education. “This is where projects like the Blue Economy Initiative (BEI) come in.”

Leading the way

The BEI releases studies and reports that help Canadians better understand the positive and negative impacts water has on the economy. Their mission is “to catalyze well-informed water management decisions, policies and practices that ensure maximum social, environmental and economic benefits to current and future generations” so that—as Parker eloquently puts it—“we create prosperity in a way that is in harmony with biophysical realities of the planet.”