According to this year’s Canadian Water Attitudes Study, released today (World Water Day), Canadians don’t understand the potential impact inconsistent infrastructure maintenance can have on the supply, quality, and cost of water.
Bob Sandford, chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative of the UN Water for Life Decade, calls this a “national pipe dream.”
“In many municipalities, water distribution and sewage pipes can be up to 80 years old and have already reached the end of their service life,” says Sandford. “In fact, reports have shown there is an $88-billion investment required to repair and build new water infrastructure in communities across Canada.”
GlobeScan’s president Chris Coulter (who conducted the poll on behalf of RBC), says, “We found a troubling lack of awareness not only about water conservation but also the very pressing need for investment in infrastructure. Mobilizing the political will to deal with these issues will be a challenge.”
GlobeScan found that only a quarter (22 per cent) of those surveyed would be willing to pay through a water bill or taxes into an infrastructure fund to upgrade drinking water/wastewater facilities in their community.
With infrastructure funding potentially diminishing, not increasing—at least at the provincial level—if the public is unwilling to fund investment, water and wastewater infrastructure in Canada is in trouble.