Welcome to a website dedicated to resources and information that can help us, as people living in Canada, to ensure that water continues to be a positive defining feature of our country and that no-one is left behind as Canada strives to achieve the 2030 Water Goal (SDG6).
This website has been established as a portal for sharing resources with each other - across geographies, sectors, and stakeholders - with the aim of advancing progress towards Canada’s achievement of the Water Goal and related goals such as the Health Goal (SDG3), the Gender Equity Goal (SDG5), the Sustainable Communities Goal (SDG11), and the Climate Action Goal (SDG13).
WHAT ARE THE SDGS?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an ambitious agenda driven by the urgent need to ensure a balance between economic growth, social development, and environmental integrity, with a fundamental emphasis on equity. The SDGs are universal in scope – they do not focus on any particular region or nation state. As such, Canada has an obligation to ensure that the specific targets are met within our boundaries as well as to support lower-income countries.
UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR ACTION
ON WATER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Antonio Guiterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, has declared that “Our world as we know it and the future we want are at risk”. Guiterres has called upon everyone to “dramatically step up the pace of implementation as we enter a decisive decade for people and the planet. We must connect the dots across all that we do – as individuals, civic groups, corporations, municipalities and Member States of the United Nations – and truly embrace the principles of inclusion and sustainability.”
In order to accelerate progress on these goals, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution declaring an International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028). The decade focuses on:
Sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for society, economy, and environment;
Co-operation and partnership to achieve internationally agreed water-related goals and targets;
Efficient water usage; and,
Full involvement of stakeholders, including women, children, youth, older people, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities.
This is further supported by the Decade of Action on Sustainable Development (2020-2030) intended to:
Mobilise Everyone Everywhere;
Demand Urgency and Ambition; and,
Supercharge Ideas to Solutions.
WATER IN CANADA
Despite perceptions of being a water rich country, we face challenges that threaten our water security and our ability to achieve the water goal. Our economy relies on water; water flows away from where the majority of people live; the water quality in some of our lakes, rivers, and streams is degrading over time and some of our river basins are already water stressed, with water demands outstripping supplies in some years in for example the South Saskatchewan.
Climate change is exacerbating some of these problems, ripening conditions for droughts, floods, and wildfires, threatening water dominated economic sectors in some regions, such as agriculture.
Many of us are working hard to harness research, policy, and practice to ensure that we move towards a more sustainable path. Let’s share our knowledge and wisdom with each other to accelerate progress.
Others are struggling to claim their rights to adequate drinking water and sanitation. The SDG targets are for universal access – access for everyone everywhere. The good news is that approximately 99% of people living in Canada have access to potable water whenever they want it from the comfort of their own homes. However, when we consider that 1% of our population represents almost 376,000 people, there is clearly more work to be done, especially when many of the underserved are First Nation communities. Other vulnerable populations include the homeless and those living in impoverished inner cities.
“The national challenge of ensuring safe drinking water for First Nations reserves has persisted for many, many years, due to deep institutional issues rather than a lack of technology”
Biggs and McArthur, 2018 A Canadian North Star Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada, 2018