Commentary | I’d like to make a Water World/Kevin Costner joke here

Re: “World Water Day” | Editorial | March 22 & “Crossword-in-the-world” | Compendium! | March 22

I would like to commend the editorial board for their comments on World Water Day. It’s true Canada faces a myriad of water issues which need to be acknowledged and acted upon by our government.

However, I would also like to challenge the editorial’s assertion that “Canada is among the most water-rich countries” and that we posses “abundant water resources.” Canada may posses 6.4 per cent of the world’s freshwater, but most of that water runs north and for all intents and purposes is inaccessible.

This must by contrasted with the United States. So often referred to as our “thirsty neighbours to the south,” the U.S. possesses 6.4 per cent of the world’s renewable water, an almost identical supply. Conversely, most of that water is within access of major population concentrations. Southern Canada has only 2.6 per cent of the world’s renewable water supply, putting our accessible water at total sum lower than that of the Democratic Republic of Congo!
Perpetuating the myth of Canadian abundance not only hides the fact that many municipalities routinely face water shortages, but also serves to bolster governmental stagnancy on water issues. When politicians and the general public believe our water resources to be bountiful, acting on these issues slips from their priority list. The editorial board is right: we must act on water issues and ask our MPs to join us in this fight. However, an inaccurate portrayal of our water resources serves only to maintain a myth of abundance and weaken the imperative for action.

P.S. What was with the crossword?

Dana Holtby
U2 Environment & IDS
Uncharted Waters conference coordinator
TAPthirst member