Federal, provincial and territorial ministers met in Kingston last week and endorsed a Canada-wide strategic vision for water, which outlines how Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) will help ensure that Canadians have access to clean, safe and sufficient water to meet their needs in ways that also maintain the integrity of ecosystems.
“Protecting Canada’s clean and safe water supply is the top priority for all provincial and territorial Environment Ministers,” said Saskatchewan Environment Minister Nancy Heppner in a press release. “Since our rivers, streams and lakes transcend the borders of provinces and territories, a coordinated plan through CCME is the most effective and efficient approach.”
Ministers also supported a Canada-wide water efficiency labeling program, agreed to earlier this year by the Council of the Federation. Water efficiency labeling supports the conservation and wise use of water under CCME’s Strategic Directions for Water by providing consumers with information on the water efficiency of appliances and fixtures such as toilets, shower heads and taps.
Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to further collaborative efforts to address a number of issues including nutrient loading in Canadian waters, the valuation of water-based natural capital, and developing a better understanding of groundwater resources and management.
How will leaders proceed with a strategy that involves a vital resource that crosses many jurisdictional borders? We asked Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen if a nation-wide water strategy steps on any toes. “To accept the ideas in principle is one thing. To implement them in your own jurisdiction is another. At least there’s a commitment to look at these issues very seriously and start doing something about them,” Gerretsen told CWT.
The upcoming January/February 2010 issue will include more on efforts to produce a national strategy on water.