NCWC and the NCWCEF Common Program on Water/Energy – 2008-2011

For a time, we will continue to have the material on the NCWC and the NCWC Education Fund project on the Water/Energy Connections posted here. NCWCEF and NCWC were pleased to give our members and the much broader general public the opportunity to be involved in our joint Water/Energy Connections Project as it explored the multitude of water/energy connections in such areas as:

  • The overall energy/water/climate nexus
  • Tar Sands – the use of huge amounts of water to produce oil and extraction impacts on Lake Athabasca and surrounding eco-systems
  • Nuclear Power – mining, processing, waste management, trucking, release of tritium into the Great Lakes
  • Hydro Electric – huge mega -dams impacts on river systems and their eco-systems
  • The ‘Soft Path’ for Water and the ‘Soft Energy ‘ Path—looking at the co- benefits of water and energy conservation.

The project was directed by Gracia Janes, Chair of the NCWC Education Fund, and the research/writing was done by Dr. John Bacher, author of Petrotyranny-Dundurn Press (foreword David Suzuki); author of ‘TWO BILLION TREES AND COUNTING’ – The Legacy of Edmund Zavitz . Dundurn Natural Heritage . 2011 and researcher for the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (estb.1976); Board member, Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment and, former Ontario Drainage Board Tribunal member.

As part of the Water/Energy Connections Project NCWC Representative Elizabeth Hutchinson attended the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) conference on Canadian Water:Towards a New Strategy.  Her report is available here: Canadian Water: Towards a New Strategy.

Highly recommended reading: FLOW Monitor to read about Canadian water issues. In the first issue, read about important developments including Environment Canada’s progress on key national water priorities, efforts to develop a comprehensive Federal freshwater strategy and recent developments in First Nations drinking water policies.

Clean Water, Green Jobs In partnership with the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, released Clean Water, Green Jobs: A Stimulus Package for Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investments . The plan focuses on repairing and renewing existing water infrastructure, restoring green infrastructure and conserving water and energy.

Thanks to all of you who completed the Canada-wide Water-Energy Use Survey. Results are now tabulated; see Survey Results here.

The powerpoint presentation by Andrew Nikiforuk, Myth of Abundance. at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Women of Canada in Prince Albert.  This presentation reviews the connection between water and energy in a striking way, as the ratio of water use to energy extraction in the Tar Sands is 3 to 1. His book, “Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Content” is recommended reading.

A Presentation by Ralph Pentland which is quite informative and would be a good resouce for those interested in water issues. Ths was a presentation at the Midwestern Legislative Conference, Toronto, 9 August, 2010.

POLIS Project Newsletter:  Archive of Polis Newletters  See issues:  Winter 2015: Working Better Together, Indigenous Ethics Influence WSP WorkSummer 2015: POLIS, WIGG and BIG: A New Research Relationship; Fall 2014:  Watershed Governance in Action Understanding the Cowichan Watershed Approach

Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Re the Oil Sands and Water Resources 31st of August, 2009.

Highlights of the Water /Energy Project are :

“Almost everything we do or use in life, from the essential, such as eating, to the merely frivolous, that of. taking a luxury cruise, requires energy, and, to varying degrees, has an impact on the protection of present and future freshwater resources.” (unknown source)

The ability of federal, provincial, territorial and local governments and individual Canadians to protect freshwater resources relies on the public being knowledgeable about all aspects of the life-cycle of water, acting as individuals and groups to make a difference, and informing governments at all levels of the need for far sighted programs and policies to protect and sustain this vital life-resource.

The National Council of Women of Canada, representing many thousands of Canadians from a very broad diversity of backgrounds, through our 17 Local Councils of Women, 24 Nationally Organized Society Affiliated members and 5 Provincial Councils of Women in British Columbia, Saskatchewan. Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, has for many years recognized the need for protection of fresh water resources and for the “soft” energy path of energy conservation and efficiencies and renewables, rather than traditional energy sources that are water-destructive and unsustainable.

To this end, NCWC and NCWEF have engaged in two very significant projects in the past 16 years. The most recent, our 2006, 2007 Common Program on Water, was jointly organized with the NCW Education Fund (NCWEF). It involved public meetings across Canada and an expert Panel on Canada’s Water at our 2007 AGM in Regina. Funded by a grant from the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation the panel featured 6 presentations by experts in the areas of drought, water diversions, industrial energy resource impacts on water, water and the law, trade agreements and the need for a national water strategy.  A Report was prepared on the “National Council of Women of Canada Common Program on Water 2006/2007” and can be found on pages 6-7 in NCWC’s 2007 Summer Newsletter.

This latter program drew our attention back once more to the strong inter-relationship between the public’s use of, and government support of, very damaging energy sources such as oil, coal and nuclear, as well as the benefits of Canadians moving to the ‘soft’ energy path.- factors that were front and centre in NCWC’s 1992-95 Environment Canada Greenplan Partners Project .

Those very many NCWC members who participated in that earlier program, or read the Report mentioned above, will remember how much public interest our energy conservation programs stirred up across the country from Halifax to Fort St. John ; what an excellent source of information the Conserver Newsletter was; the many helpful tips to apply to our own lives that were gleaned from public forum speakers and the expert NCWC AGM resource speakers e.g. Marjorie Lamb , author of 2 Minutes a Day for a Greener Planet, and the amazingly good response from over 560 respondents to our Energy Conservation- Making a Difference survey.

And, those of you who attended our AGM in Regina last Spring , or read the “, will know of the huge challenge Canadians are facing and must overcome, to protect their limited fresh water resources, particularly in light of climate change. We know also, that within this daunting future, our energy use will play a huge role. It is our hope that with the knowledge gained from this project that NCWEF and NCWC can better help our members, the general public and the legislators understand the challenges and help shape a more sustainable future for Canada’s freshwater resources – and our environment generally.