At the 8th annual Canadian Water Summit in Toronto in June 2017, delegates will explore opportunities to collaborate on water technology and infrastructure finance, “blue economy” growth and climate change resilience. “Conserving our freshwaters can only happen with the support of businesses and corporations. It is their leadership that can shift market forces from loss and overuse, to conservation and sustainability,” stated Dan Krause.
A Perspective on Water Management in Australia: “Water supply needs a splash of competition,” wrote Dr. Peter Coombes in an op-ed for the Financial Review newspaper
“The economic efficiency of Australia’s centralised water utilities is rapidly declining – and consumers are paying for it. At a macroeconomic level (household welfare across the economy), grid water costs of households in Melbourne, Adelaide and South East Queensland have jumped by up to 180 per cent over the past decade, while water usage has increased by less than 10 per cent,” wrote Peter Coombes.
FLASHBACK TO 2010: “The way we see the world is shaped by our vocabulary,” observed Metro Vancouver’s Robert Hicks when commenting on ‘what is an appropriate term to use’ for different uses of water in different languages
“Other languages like French and German often use more exact terms than English for 'stormwater' and 'wastewater', and this changes how relationships and worth are perceived,” states Robert Hicks. “The reason why other languages use more exact terms relates to the structural nature of those languages.
“Business-as-usual is now no longer possible with the crisis that is faced by our global water resources,” wrote Rylan Dobson. “The actions that will secure our water future will be more locally driven. Referred to as either context-based or science-based sustainability, there is a greater need for the business community and watershed users to better understand their individual local boundaries and directly their actions in order to ensure they operate within these boundaries.”
“There have been many changes in our approach to urban water management in Australia since the establishment of the centralised and separate water supply, stormwater and wastewater paradigm in the 1800s,” stated Peter Coombes. “Urban water cycle management starts with the integration of land and water planning across time horizons and spatial scales. It must be cognisant of likely advances in science and professional practice over the next 30 years.”
Reflections by Australia’s Dr. Peter Coombes (2nd in a 3-part series): “Integrate water balance strategies with existing infrastructure strategies to visualise what a ‘resilient future’ would look like”
“A history of top down management of water in Australia was challenged by drought. Concerned citizens called for implementation of bottom up strategies and inclusion in the decision making process. It was an emerging insight that there were no ‘silver bullet’ single solutions for water management. Both bottom-up and top-down approaches were needed,” wrote Peter Coombes.
Reflections by Australia’s Dr. Peter Coombes (1st in a 3-part series): “Through Consensus and Challenge: Essential Fabric of Resilient Society”
“The easy going ‘she’ll be right mate’ culture of Australians masks strong aversion to change ‘we’ve always done it this way’. Our water management is, mostly, a centralised top down (driven by institutions) process. In contrast, Canadians have a bottom up (driven by people) discussion ‘let’s talk about this’ about ideas – consensus via non-government organisations and community governance,” wrote Peter Coombes.
The extent to which cities are making natural infrastructure an integral part of their water management plans is new, writes Erica Gies. Around the world — from Melbourne, Australia, to China’s “sponge cities” to coastal cities in New Jersey and Belize — urban planners are formally expanding natural stream and wetlands hydrology and ecosystems to better protect communities.
“The definition of ‘water’ is not typically a controversial subject. But….. The final rule for WOTUS takes into account the ‘interconnectedness’ of tributaries, wetlands and other waters to downstream waters. This means the federal government would substantially increase federal control of Minnesota’s lakes, streams, wetlands and drainage ditches,” wrote Rich Sve, local government politician.
Metro Vancouver Water Shortage Response Plan – Daily Consumption and Reservoir Levels During 2015 Drought
In July 2015 Metro Vancouver moved to Stage 3 water restrictions – banning all lawn sprinkling with treated drinking water and bringing in a number of other water conservation measures. “We need to reduce our discretionary use of water including lawn sprinkling and washing cars,” said Board Chair Greg Moore. “Our reservoir levels need to be maintained for priority needs in our homes and businesses, and for community needs like fire protection.”