Population growth, increasing urbanization, and climate change are a growing threat to the sustainability of Canada’s water and energy supply. While Canada is currently a water-rich nation, we must realize that this precious commodity is not unlimited, and that we are not exempt from water scarcity concerns.

By adopting proactive solutions to these issues Canadians can ensure that there will be enough water for future generations while enjoying the economic benefits today.

A timely investment

Canadians can’t afford not to begin considering the ways that water affects their bottom lines, says Nicholas Parker, Founding Managing Partner and Senior Advisor at the Blue Economy Initiative (a Canadian project that works to promote water sustainability by identifying the strong ties between water management and the economy). Costly health and well-being problems are created across the board by climate change and rapidly growing urban demographics. These issues are further amplified by the continuous destruction of our surrounding natural environment, including watersheds, wetlands, and overall mismanagement of water sources.

It is time to take action, Canadian municipalities, industries, and residents can help avert these issues by making smart investments in water technology, promoting sustainable policies, and exploring new avenues of water and ecosystem management.

"Canadian industries need to turn their attention to the economic benefits of water conservation."

Don’t wait to build the proverbial ark

The prevalence of extreme weather patterns—like the storms that caused the recent flooding in Calgary and Toronto this summer—have tripled around the globe in the past decade alone. The costly fallout and damages associated with these extreme weather events will continue to place strain on urban centres and Canadian communities unless measures are presently taken to mitigate these risks.

Our natural environment is ultimately linked to our urban communities. One way that municipalities can take direct action to prepare themselves for these anticipated risks is investing in upgrading infrastructure. Within the urban environment, this includes updating water distribution and management facilities that can properly handle high volumes of storm water and wastewater. Looking past the cities, we must realize that the preservation and sustainability of natural ecosystem services such as watersheds and wetlands is essential to the well-being of our communities.

Industrially strong solutions

Canadian industries need to turn their attention to the economic benefits of water conservation. By adopting water sustainable solutions in practices and policies, Canada’s businesses will ultimately improve their economic efficiency while simultaneously furthering national sustainability efforts.

This can be accomplished through the dual routes of investing in conservation, or investing in proper water management throughout all aspects of production. These investments create new opportunities for prosperity in the present while preserving that same opportunity for future generations.

Water smart at home

Attention to water security and sustainability is just as important on a residential level: water shortages will cause Canadian energy and water bills to skyrocket in the near future. We must look to renewable energy sources like hydropower as sustainable sources that can power our homes in an environmental
sustainable way.  

Timely action taken now to address environmental sustainability and risk mitigation is an opportunity for Canadians to improve economic efficiency and meet the bottom line. In order to ensure that water is available to future generations, we must invest today in sustainable solutions and practices on all levels—municipal, industrial, and residential.