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  • A resource worth more attention | Blue Economy Initiative
    address problems at their source by enhancing ecosystems within urban areas to naturally regulate storm events Examples of the types of investments Kingston could make in this new green infrastructure include green rooftops rain gardens permeable pavement human made wetlands that filter pollutants and absorb phosphorus and nitrogen and bioswales a landscaping method that filters sediment and other pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus from surface runoff before it reaches local sewers and waterways One development critical to Kingston s future is the connection between water conservation and water quality a connection clearly evident in managing heavy rainfall For example avoiding unnecessary overuse of water translates into less burden on local water treatment systems and as a result reduces the chance for sewage overflows Moreover many of the afore mentioned green infrastructure solutions also have the effect of conserving water Capturing rainwater to flush toilets and irrigate gardens and parks not only intercepts rain that would otherwise overwhelm storm sewers it also means less water is taken out of the municipal system unnecessarily thus saving taxpayers from paying to treat water that didn t need to go down the drain in the first place Instead of regarding rainwater as an inconvenience this new way of thinking treats it as an asset one that can be used for watering gardens and parks flushing toilets and building natural resilience to a changing climate In addition to the many ecological and societal benefits of this approach entrepreneurial businesses are also realizing the substantial benefits of new economic opportunities created by investment in innovative solutions in a range of services and industries such as green rooftops manufacturing cisterns and other techniques for rain collection However it shouldn t just be left to cities to make this transition to a new way of thinking about

    Original URL path: http://blue-economy.ca/opinion/resource-worth-more-attention?page=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • A resource worth more attention
    filter pollutants and absorb phosphorus and nitrogen and bioswales a landscaping method that filters sediment and other pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus from surface runoff before it reaches local sewers and waterways One development critical to Kingston s future is the connection between water conservation and water quality a connection clearly evident in managing heavy rainfall For example avoiding unnecessary overuse of water translates into less burden on local water treatment systems and as a result reduces the chance for sewage overflows Moreover many of the afore mentioned green infrastructure solutions also have the effect of conserving water Capturing rainwater to flush toilets and irrigate gardens and parks not only intercepts rain that would otherwise overwhelm storm sewers it also means less water is taken out of the municipal system unnecessarily thus saving taxpayers from paying to treat water that didn t need to go down the drain in the first place Instead of regarding rainwater as an inconvenience this new way of thinking treats it as an asset one that can be used for watering gardens and parks flushing toilets and building natural resilience to a changing climate In addition to the many ecological and societal benefits of this approach entrepreneurial businesses are also realizing the substantial benefits of new economic opportunities created by investment in innovative solutions in a range of services and industries such as green rooftops manufacturing cisterns and other techniques for rain collection However it shouldn t just be left to cities to make this transition to a new way of thinking about water The provincial government has an important role to play in supporting and enabling this effort Fortunately there is an Act making its way through the Ontario legislative assembly that could promote these types of innovative approaches to water management Introduced

    Original URL path: http://blue-economy.ca/print/87 (2014-10-09)
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  • Water sources do not obey political boundaries | Blue Economy Initiative
    worse The dramatic decline in the health of Lake Winnipeg suggests these concerns are entirely warranted And it is not just Lake Winnipeg that is facing water woes Flowing through our nation s capital the Ottawa River reached its lowest levels in almost a century following an unseasonably dry winter and spring causing cancellations to canoeing competitions and threatening fish and crops Water has receded nearly 30 feet in some areas On the other side of the Ottawa River the City of Gatineau experienced a water shortage in May so severe that the municipality instituted a temporary ban on all outdoor water use including filling swimming pools and even drinking from outdoor taps Residents who disobeyed the ban were heavily fined On the west coast British Columbia is so dry that water bombers are struggling to find enough water to put out hundreds of forest fires Regions such as the Okanagan in B C are facing water crises due to reduced mountain snow pack and rising human consumption As water levels drop the concentration of pollutants in the water increases as does the temperature The sun heats shallower waters more quickly contributing to the growth of toxic algal blooms which are unfortunately not unique to Lake Winnipeg And Ottawa is far too familiar with the issue of raw sewage overflow from aging combined sewer systems closing beaches on occasion after a heavy rainfall Though the city is taking steps to address this the problem is again not unique to Ottawa but is common among many older cities in Canada Yet with freshwater problems accelerating across Canada it was left to the premiers to call for a pan Canadian approach to water stewardship Where is the federal government Why isn t it calling for and implementing a national water framework to

    Original URL path: http://blue-economy.ca/opinion/water-sources-do-not-obey-political-boundaries?page=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • Water sources do not obey political boundaries
    in almost a century following an unseasonably dry winter and spring causing cancellations to canoeing competitions and threatening fish and crops Water has receded nearly 30 feet in some areas On the other side of the Ottawa River the City of Gatineau experienced a water shortage in May so severe that the municipality instituted a temporary ban on all outdoor water use including filling swimming pools and even drinking from outdoor taps Residents who disobeyed the ban were heavily fined On the west coast British Columbia is so dry that water bombers are struggling to find enough water to put out hundreds of forest fires Regions such as the Okanagan in B C are facing water crises due to reduced mountain snow pack and rising human consumption As water levels drop the concentration of pollutants in the water increases as does the temperature The sun heats shallower waters more quickly contributing to the growth of toxic algal blooms which are unfortunately not unique to Lake Winnipeg And Ottawa is far too familiar with the issue of raw sewage overflow from aging combined sewer systems closing beaches on occasion after a heavy rainfall Though the city is taking steps to address this the problem is again not unique to Ottawa but is common among many older cities in Canada Yet with freshwater problems accelerating across Canada it was left to the premiers to call for a pan Canadian approach to water stewardship Where is the federal government Why isn t it calling for and implementing a national water framework to complement the premiers push for improved water governance In the 1970s and 80s the federal government played a critical role in supporting provinces in their efforts to monitor understand and manage water The necessity of such a role is no less

    Original URL path: http://blue-economy.ca/print/89 (2014-10-09)
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  • Understanding the value of our water | Blue Economy Initiative
    our waterways The ports of Toronto and Montreal developed and prospered because of the transportation corridors and trade opportunities provided by the largest fresh water system on the planet the Great Lakes St Lawrence River Basin And the transformation of the Prairies into Canada s bread basket was only possible because mountain fed rivers such as the Bow and South Saskatchewan injected life into an otherwise arid land Today fresh water pulses through our economy virtually unnoticed Most Canadians would not think of water as vital to economic security but a scan of major economic sectors shows that in fact it is Energy companies need water to extract and process oil for cooling in thermal power generation and to produce hydropower Farmers require a reliable water supply for agricultural production as does the fishing industry and our rivers and lakes are the backbone of Canada s vibrant tourism and recreation industries We ve built water pipelines specifically for car plants huge quantities of water are consumed by the food and beverage industry and it s a critical input in many other goods and services Despite its ubiquity in Canadian economic activity our knowledge of water s contribution to economic productivity is superficial at best The fact we know so little about the way water flows through our economy is a major concern Every day policy makers corporations and individuals make decisions affecting water resources without knowing if their actions are impacting our long term prosperity The costs of water pollution or overuse are rarely factored into these decisions costs economists politely term externalities So we need to improve our understanding of the nexus between fresh water and our economy in three key areas First we need to detail the contribution of water to Canada s economy and assess the economic benefits of protecting and conserving our rivers and lakes The Brookings Institute a US think tank showed that investing 26 billion in restoring Great Lakes ecosystems would create economic benefits in excess of 50 billion Following an assessment of ecological goods and services of the upstream watershed New York City realized it could spend 507 million working with upstream stakeholders to improve watershed protection and save the 8 billion that would have been needed for a new treatment plant to provide the same water quality There are few equivalent studies in Canada although a new federal framework to evaluate the economic value of nature will hopefully begin to change that Second we need to better understand the risks associated with mismanaging this precious resource The costs of drought in 2001 2002 amounted to 3 billion making it one of Canada s largest natural disasters In a changing climate prolonged droughts and intense floods will increase in frequency Climate projections show that with an increase of 2 degrees Celsius due to global warming a reduction in water levels on the St Lawrence River could cost 350 million in lost hydro electrical production A major knowledge gap that poses significant economic and

    Original URL path: http://blue-economy.ca/opinion/understanding-value-our-water?page=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • Understanding the value of our water
    the backbone of Canada s vibrant tourism and recreation industries We ve built water pipelines specifically for car plants huge quantities of water are consumed by the food and beverage industry and it s a critical input in many other goods and services Despite its ubiquity in Canadian economic activity our knowledge of water s contribution to economic productivity is superficial at best The fact we know so little about the way water flows through our economy is a major concern Every day policy makers corporations and individuals make decisions affecting water resources without knowing if their actions are impacting our long term prosperity The costs of water pollution or overuse are rarely factored into these decisions costs economists politely term externalities So we need to improve our understanding of the nexus between fresh water and our economy in three key areas First we need to detail the contribution of water to Canada s economy and assess the economic benefits of protecting and conserving our rivers and lakes The Brookings Institute a US think tank showed that investing 26 billion in restoring Great Lakes ecosystems would create economic benefits in excess of 50 billion Following an assessment of ecological goods and services of the upstream watershed New York City realized it could spend 507 million working with upstream stakeholders to improve watershed protection and save the 8 billion that would have been needed for a new treatment plant to provide the same water quality There are few equivalent studies in Canada although a new federal framework to evaluate the economic value of nature will hopefully begin to change that Second we need to better understand the risks associated with mismanaging this precious resource The costs of drought in 2001 2002 amounted to 3 billion making it one of Canada s

    Original URL path: http://blue-economy.ca/print/90 (2014-10-09)
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  • Albertans have lost interest in public dialogue about water | Blue Economy Initiative
    natural resources Water comes out of our taps every day but beyond that we don t tend to think much about it One of the most complex questions is how to determine economic policies around distribution of water and linked to that is the level of knowledge people have about water issues As part of the project Halter gathered public input to gauge economic policies for improving the quality and quantity of water and to address ongoing issues such as sale of water protection for sensitive riverbank areas pollution from upstream urban areas industries and agricultural runoff and making regulatory policy more effective for everyone who shares the water communities industries and government For her study Halter focused on the Battle River Watershed in Alberta an area that has struggled with drought since 2000 The watershed is a large area of landcovering most of east central Alberta that drains into the Battle River The area covers approximately 30 000 square kilometres 83 per cent in Alberta the remainder in Saskatchewan Between April of 2009 and April of 2010 Halter conducted interviews in the Battle River area with elected officials business owners municipal workers farmers and others with specific personal or professional interests in water management Besides a lack of faith in past public consultation processes the research revealed other concerns about water policy The idea of establishing markets for the sale of water was not supported and even feared The general concern is that water could become too expensive and force small farmers out of the market and discourage new producers There was also concern about water pricing for general human consumption Halter added The government needs to keep water policy flexible to fit different communities Halter said There has to be a movement towards local knowledge and the government

    Original URL path: http://blue-economy.ca/opinion/albertans-have-lost-interest-public-dialogue-about-water?page=1 (2014-10-09)
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  • Albertans have lost interest in public dialogue about water
    level of knowledge people have about water issues As part of the project Halter gathered public input to gauge economic policies for improving the quality and quantity of water and to address ongoing issues such as sale of water protection for sensitive riverbank areas pollution from upstream urban areas industries and agricultural runoff and making regulatory policy more effective for everyone who shares the water communities industries and government For her study Halter focused on the Battle River Watershed in Alberta an area that has struggled with drought since 2000 The watershed is a large area of landcovering most of east central Alberta that drains into the Battle River The area covers approximately 30 000 square kilometres 83 per cent in Alberta the remainder in Saskatchewan Between April of 2009 and April of 2010 Halter conducted interviews in the Battle River area with elected officials business owners municipal workers farmers and others with specific personal or professional interests in water management Besides a lack of faith in past public consultation processes the research revealed other concerns about water policy The idea of establishing markets for the sale of water was not supported and even feared The general concern is that water could become too expensive and force small farmers out of the market and discourage new producers There was also concern about water pricing for general human consumption Halter added The government needs to keep water policy flexible to fit different communities Halter said There has to be a movement towards local knowledge and the government has to draft its regulations to individual circumstances of areas For instance there are very different situations between the Bow River and the Battle River Water management issues should be brought into the public school curriculum at all levels Students are open to information

    Original URL path: http://blue-economy.ca/print/91 (2014-10-09)
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