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A call to action for federal leadership on fresh water

This August, Manitobans were confronted with a graphic reminder of the challenges facing Lake Winnipeg when algae washed up on Hillside Beach.

Excessive phosphorus flowing into the lake from many different sources throughout its vast watershed is contributing to the increasing size and frequency of harmful algae blooms such as this one – but Lake Winnipeg is not the only water body in need of help.

Across the country, mounting pressures on rivers, lakes and streams are closing beaches, compromising drinking water supplies, impacting fisheries and undermining the health of aquatic ecosystems. Climate change is introducing more complex challenges and uncertainties, with floods and droughts causing billions of dollars in damage, impacting people and their homes, communities, infrastructure and economies.

Our actions today are creating the legacy we’re leaving for our children. It’s time to start working towards a sustainable water future. It’s time to put water on the federal agenda.

Our Living Waters (OLW) is a new national initiative working to amplify the impact of Canada’s water community. It’s supported by more than 80 freshwater groups from across Canada, including LWF.

OLW has launched a non-partisan call to action asking the next government of Canada to make freshwater protection a national priority.

It calls on the federal government to play an active role in research and monitoring, drinking water standards and fisheries protection, and to set an ambitious national target to have all of Canada’s waters in good health by 2025.

This call to action outlines four themes that can provide a framework for a national water agenda:

  • Mobilizing water knowledge
  • Modernizing and implementing water law and policy
  • Building water sustainable cities and economies
  • Supporting a collaborative water community

LWF has endorsed the call. We encourage all lake-lovers to do the same.

The 2009 RBC Water Attitudes Survey revealed that the majority of Canadians rank fresh water as the country’s most important natural resource – ahead of forests, farmland and oil. Water is central to our lives in this country. We need it to live, work and play. But it takes leadership to safeguard water – for nature and for people.

Fresh water needs to be on the agenda of the next federal government of Canada.

Spread the word to your colleagues, local businesses, community leaders, and your friends and family. Encourage them to join us and many others in signing up to endorse the call to action for federal leadership on fresh water.

LWF publishes a newsletter, The Watershed Observer, twice a year. Our most recent edition includes information on our emerging community-based monitoring network, details about groundbreaking microplastics research made possible through our grants program, and helpful tips on how you can speak up for water by reaching out to decision makers.

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