Inaugural Canadian Municipal Water Priorities Report Addresses the Evolving Water Landscape

Water management leaders across Canada join forces to define nationwide challenges and opportunities   

September 18, Waterloo, ON – Water is the common thread that links our economy, our ecosystems, and the health of our communities. In 2014, Canadian Water Network’s (CWN) Canadian Municipal Water Consortium Leadership Group (CLG) was established to define national priorities for municipal water management and identify where targeted action and investment can create sustainable solutions. The traditional landscape of low rates and high consumption that has so strongly characterized water use in Canada is evolving, and the CLG has identified key priorities in their inaugural Canadian Municipal Water Priorities report.

“Canadians recognize the importance of water in their daily lives goes beyond just clean drinking water,” said Bernadette Conant, Executive Director of CWN. “Strong leadership is needed in all areas, including flood protection, wastewater treatment, and ensuring clean rivers and beaches. The 2014 Canadian Municipal Water Priorities report lays the foundation for future change, and our hope is that it will guide efforts in several areas of water management.”

The report is the first of its kind, and discusses the four national priorities identified earlier this year by the CLG:

  • Integrated Risk Management – Identifying the risks associated with municipal drinking water, wastewaster, stormwater and urban watersheds and understanding how they interrelate.
  • Full Cost Recovery and Financing – Assessing the true cost of maintaining high water standards helps managers develop rate structures that will reflect these costs and generate the revenue needed to maintain and invest in our infrastructure.
  • Biosolids and Wastewater Resource Recovery – Measuring potential risks and benefits of biosolids management techniques and wastewater recovery and reuse technology helps communities decide what options work best for them.
  • Storms and Extreme Weather – Innovating to deal with the “new normal” conditions caused by climate change and other factors will allow municipalities to become more resilient.

“The municipal water landscape is changing and requires investment to meet current and future demands,” noted Warren Wishart, Manager of the Canadian Municipal Water Consortium at CWN. “Adapting to change, particularly climate-related, is one of the great challenges facing municipal water management today. Innovation in this area will be important over the next few years, and will enable municipalities to be more resilient in the face of ongoing change.”

The Canadian Municipal Water Consortium, launched in 2009, has worked closely with municipalities, industry, government and research teams to drive progress on municipal water management challenges. The CLG was formed in 2014 to discuss and tackle key issues and define national water management priorities. To date, the group consists of 12 organizations across Canada, spanning from Victoria to Halifax.

Since 2001, CWN has brought together more than 180 partners, including industry, government and non-governmental organizations and 80 municipalities on projects. Specifically, 80 projects over the past 12 years have resulted in direct value to municipalities with CWN funding.

“I congratulate Canadian Water Network and the Canadian Municipal Water Consortium on the release of the inaugural Canadian Municipal Water Priorities report,” said Peter Braid, Member of Parliament, Kitchener – Waterloo. “CWN continues to play an important role in developing innovative solutions to Canada’s water management challenges.”

About the Canadian Municipal Water Consortium
Launched in 2009 by Canadian Water Network, the Canadian Municipal Water Consortium focuses on municipal water management priorities, and works to identify and articulate the implications of research results for decision-making and risk management. The Consortium brings together municipal water managers with industry and governments from local to national, to facilitate a truly collaborative approach to tackling water management challenges across Canada.

About Canadian Water Network
Headquartered at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canadian Water Network was created in 2001 by the Networks of Centres of Excellence Program to connect international water researchers with decision-makers engaged in priority water management issues. CWN works to unite the expertise of researchers, practitioners and implementers to respond to water challenges.