Defining the Geopolitics of a Thirsty WorldSM
The Great Dry North?

As noted in The Calgary Sun, one of the greatest myths deceiving Canadians may be the fact that – while other parts of the world watch their lands dry out and their taps run dry – Canadians rest comfortably in the belief that we possess 20% of the world’s freshwater supplies. As the article notes:

“…Twenty per cent is so misleading because a lot of it we can’t use.”…What Canadians consume in water is the rainfall and snow melt which replenish the water system every year.

Canada, however, receives 6.5% of the world’s renewable supply every year — the same amount as both Indonesia and the U.S.

Meanwhile, about 60% of Canada’s water flows north to the Arctic, away from the majority of Canadians who live and work in the south.

That further reduces our share of the renewable supply to 2.6% from 6.5%.

“This is the number that should spring to the minds of Canadians when they contemplate the country’s water resources.”

…About 30% of Canadians rely on groundwater for their drinking water. Quebec has the greatest number of municipalities reliant on groundwater, while Ontario has the highest population dependent on groundwater at 1.3 million. Prince Edward Island, meanwhile, is entirely dependent on groundwater for its municipal supplies.…Overpumping on the American side of the Great Lakes, for example, reversed the flow of groundwater from in to out of the Great Lakes.

…According to a 1998 OECD survey, Canadian municipal water rates were the cheapest among 12 developed countries — Canadians paid 31 cents per cubic metre. Meanwhile, the U.S. paid between 40 and 80 cents, and Germans paid $2.16 per cubic metre. At $1.62 in 2004, Canadian rates continue to be among the lowest in the industrialized world.

Nowlan’s Buried Treasure report points out the OECD “has repeatedly censured Canada” for failing to implement economic measures to manage water…”

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 29th, 2008 at 11:02 am and is filed under Canada.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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