FREE WEBINAR: Canadian Attitudes About Water – 10 Years of Research Tells a Story of Contradictions (April 11, 2017)

Note to Reader:

Join Bob Sandford and friends, on April 11th, for a deep dive into RBC’s 10th annual Canadian Water Attitudes Study—an in-depth examination of how Canadians think, feel, and act in regard to our fresh water.

The story that has emerged from this research is both complex and enlightening. On one hand, it confirms how much Canadians value our water and how integral our lakes and rivers are to our national identity; on the other, it reveals a troubling carelessness with a resource Canadians still consider unlimited in its abundance.


Canadians Remain Conflicted About Our Most Precious Natural Resource: Fresh Water

What: 10th annual RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study in a webinar
When: April 11 at 11:00 EST / 8:00 PST.
  • Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair, Water & Climate Security, United Nations University Institute
  • Robert Haller, Executive Director of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association
  • Eric Whan, Director, GlobeScan
  • Andrew Craig, Director, Corporate Environmental Affairs, RBC

How to register:

RBC_water attitudes_demographics

Understanding the Contradictions: It Comes Down to Culture & Economy

The study, which took place in January 2017 (the same month that scientists announced 2016 as the hottest year on record) show startling contradictions between what Canadians know to be true about the impact of climate change on water, and what they continue to believe about Canada’s water wealth. For example:
  • For the 10th year in a row, Canadians named water our most valuable natural resource. Yet we remain world-class water wasters and report taking fewer actions to conserve
  • water last year than we did in 2008.
  • Canadians are more convinced about the risks to our water quality and supply than they were a decade ago, yet confidence in our ability to meet long-term water needs remains unchanged (at 84 per cent).
  • Canadians feel more personally at risk when it comes to droughts and floods than in the past. However, one-in-four Canadians think climate change will have no impact on our fresh water. Even with considerable efforts to raise climate change awareness, this is a higher number today than it was in 2009.
Another important theme that emerged is the difference between how Canadians think about water and how they think about energy. While Canadians and the Canadian economy depend heavily on both, we treat these two resources very differently.

According to the RBC study, Canadians rate technological advances to save energy as more important than advances to save water. Canadians are also more likely to focus their personal efforts on energy conservation over water conservation. Why?

It likely comes down to dollars and cents; 79 per cent of those who take action to save energy do it to save money, while less than 20 per cent do it to protect the environment. When it comes to water conservation, those figures are virtually reversed.

Bob-Sandford_2017_unuinweh_logo_180p“First, I think we’re dealing with a degree of denial. It’s challenging for us, as Canadians, to reconcile our long-held myth of limitless water abundance with the very real physical threats we’re hearing about and even experiencing,” commented Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair for Water & Climate Security, United Nations University Institute.

“Second, while Canadians treasure our water, we have little appreciation for what it is worth and how valuable it is to our economy and economic competitiveness.”

“We don’t pay the real costs of the water we use—neither the costs necessary to transport and treat it, nor the environmental costs of wasting it. As a result, we’ve come to believe that water is cheap. There’s no incentive to use less of it,” Sandford concludes.

To Learn More:


RBC_energy & water savings


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