Government seeks input on Canadian Water Agency
The federal government is working to establish a new Canada Water Agency to promote collaboration between different levels of government, Indigenous communities and scientists with the goal to “keep our water safe, clean and well-managed.”
We at Canadian Freshwater Alliance are all about keeping our water safe and clean, so we were excited when the government first announced their intention to create this agency last December. Despite an abundance of freshwater, Canada has a growing number of threats that are affecting the health of our shared waters. We believe a thoughtfully crafted Canada Water Agency could be our best chance to address some of those threats before it’s too late.
In our blog post from March, we outlined some of the work we’ve done to let the government know what our top priorities are for a Canada Water Agency.
But we want to make sure that they hear from you, too.
The government is using the online engagement tool PlaceSpeak to gather input on the priorities of the public when it comes to freshwater and how a Canadian Water Agency could help keep it “safe, clean and well-managed”.
In particular, they’re gathering input on the following questions:
- What are the most pressing fresh water challenges nationally, and in your region of Canada?
- What, in your opinion, are the essential science, data, policy, and program gaps that need to be filled in relation to these fresh water challenges?
- What role would you see a Canada Water Agency playing in filling these gaps?
- How should a Canada Water Agency work to enhance federal-provincial-territorial coordination and cooperation?
- What role should a Canada Water Agency have in working with Indigenous peoples on fresh water management issues?
We’re encouraging everyone who cares about freshwater (which should, hopefully, be everyone!) to take a few minutes and add your thoughts to the PlaceSpeak platform. We need to ensure that the federal government knows how much we value our shared waters and how important it is to get this right!
You can answer all or just one question. You can say just a few words or a few paragraphs. How you engage is up to you, but we do encourage you to do it!
If you want some ideas of what we think is important in creating a Canada Water Agency, check out the letter we wrote in collaboration with Our Living Waters.
In particular, we think the following should be priorities:
- Indigenous water rights. This includes working with Indigenous people from the very beginning as co-designers of the Canada Water Agency.
- Accessible water data. We need better data and better access to data to make decisions that will protect our water.
- Modernized water policy. The federal Water Act and Water Policy have not been updated for three decades. A lot has changed since then. We need new and better tools to address the challenges of today.
- Watershed governance. The Canada Water Agency should support us to perform decision-making at the watershed level.
- Green infrastructure. We need to move from grey to green to better manage rain and snowfall where it falls and help keep dirty water out of our lakes, rivers and streams.
- Freshwater awareness. The Canadian public needs to understand the importance of our waters, the threats facing our waters, and what needs to happen to address those threats.
Let the government know your priorities for a Canada Water Agency by using their online engagement platform!