World Water Day 2013: Global and Canadian Freshwater Concerns

This video presents “UN Secretary-General message “World Water Day 2013”:

  • 22 March 2013
  • Video Message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the importance of Water Cooperation, the theme of World Water Day 2013

United Nations' image: World Water Day 2013, International Year of Water Cooperation
United Nations’ image: World Water Day 2013, International Year of Water Cooperation

Today is World Water Day.

22 March was designated by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly as World Water Day, an international day to annually:

  • celebrate freshwater
  • focus attention on the importance of freshwater
  • advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources

World Water Day 2013 is also dedicated to:

  • the theme of  “cooperation for peace, prosperity and sustainable development”

“Water holds the key to sustainable development, we must work together to protect and carefully manage this fragile, finite resource”

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of World Water Day on Water Cooperation

  • raise awareness of issues of water scarcity which is depicted by the following UN facts and figures:

    • 85% of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet

    • 783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation

    • Water availability is expected to decrease in many regions

    • Yet future global agricultural water consumption alone is estimated to increase by ~19% by 2050, and will be even greater in the absence of any technological progress or policy intervention

      • Water for irrigation and food production constitutes one of the greatest pressures on freshwater resources

      • Agriculture accounts for ~70% of global freshwater withdrawals (up to 90% in some fast-growing economies)

    • Economic growth and individual wealth are shifting diets from predominantly starch-based to meat and dairy, which require more water

      • Producing 1 kg of rice, for example, requires ~3,500 L of water, 1 kg of beef ~15,000 L, and a cup of coffee ~140 L (Hoekstra and Chapagain, 2008)

      • This dietary shift is the greatest to impact on water consumption over the past 30 years, and is likely to continue well into the middle of the twenty-first century (FAO, 2006)

    • About 66% of Africa is arid or semi-arid and more than 300 of the 800 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live in a water-scarce environment – meaning that they have less than 1,000 m3 per capita (NEPAD, 2006)

    • Summer flows of water are likely to drop by up to 80% in southern Europe and some parts of central and Eastern Europe

    • The cost of adapting to the impacts of a 2°C rise in global average temperature could range from US$70 to $100 billion per year between 2020 and 2050 (World Bank, 2010)

To mark World Water Day, the Council of Canadians is encouraging Canadians to take action for water in their community via the following ways:

  • Make your community a Blue Community
    • The Blue Community Project encourages municipalities to protect public water by banning the purchase and sale of bottled water in municipal buildings and at municipal events, support the human right to water, and commit to public delivery of water and wastewater services

    • There are now 11 Blue communities in Canada

      • Help make yours the next one!
    •  Download the Blue Communities Guide and find all the information and tools you need to turn your community “blue”

  • Pass a fracking resolution in your community
    • Fracking, a method of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations using massive amounts of highly pressurized water and chemicals, is spreading quickly across Canada

    • Communities are saying “no” to fracking and protecting their water sources by organizing rallies, holding public education forums, and meeting with politicians to make their voices heard

    • However, documents recently obtained from the federal government show the government has no plans to stop – or even slow down – this industry despite the risks fracking poses to water, carbon emissions and human health

    • Please take action and help stop fracking!

  • Make a splash in the media

Please click on the following text for events and celebrations  on the theme of water cooperation marking World Water Day 2013:

This video presents “Celebrate Canada’s freshwater with NCC”:

  • Join the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to celebrate the shorelines, riverbanks and wetlands that protect Canada’s freshwater resources

According to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC),  Canada is the country with the third most renewable freshwater, after Brazil and Russia

  • The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is involved in a range of projects across the country to protect the watersheds and wetlands in the natural areas where they work
  • A few examples of NCC’s water-related projects include:
    • “In Ontario, working with partners on both sides of the border, NCC has helped to develop a range of conservation strategies to conserve the biodiversity of the Great Lakes, in particular Lake Ontario, Lake Huron and Lake Erie

      • The Great Lakes represent 84 percent of North America’s and 21 percent of world’s supply of surface freshwater

      • They provide drinking water for 40 million people

    • In British Columbia, on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest, NCC is working with the Wuikinuxv First Nation to restore a former industrial area in Rivers Inlet to its natural state

      • The Wanukv Conservation Area is located in Rivers Inlet, which is highly prized as prime grizzly bear and sockeye salmon habitat

      • The conservation area encompasses the estuary of the salmon-rich Wannock River, and also includes a lakefront parcel at the head of the river

    • In Manitoba, NCC’s work in wetland and riverbank conservation directly contributes to the health of Lake Winnipeg — the 11’th largest lake in the world, and the largest lake contained within a single province

      • NCC has secured a number of lands within the Lake Winnipeg watershed in Manitoba, including: 6,650 projects encompassing more than 290,000 acres (117,360 hectares) of land, of which more than 55,000 acres (22,260 hectares) are in Manitoba

      • In addition, NCC has conserved more than 7,000 acres (2,830 hectares) of Manitoba’s wetlands”

Please click here to find out how you can help protect Canada’s freshwater, and support priority conservation work, including landscapes that support freshwater resources across Canada.


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