Statistics Canada confirms we’re losing water

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

September 15th, 2010


Guest blog by Blair Eveleigh,  Associate Editor, Cottage Life

This can’t be good: Looks like we’re losing our water supply. According to a new study just released by Statistics Canada, every year from 1971 to 2004 the southern part of the country—where many of us live, work, and cottage—lost 3.5 cubic kilometers of renewable freshwater, the equivalent to the water contained in 1.4 million Olympic-size swimming pools. Overall, we’ve lost 8.5 per cent of the total water yield—gone, vanished, giving us that much less each year to play around in, to drink, to farm with, to do all the things we do with water that we take for granted.

The StatsCan report doesn’t mention any reasons why the water yield (the supply of freshwater made up of precipitation and melted ice that flow over and under the ground, eventually reaching our lakes and rivers) is lower every year, but the trend is disconcerting, especially with parts of the U.S. experiencing perennial drought and talk of pipelines and wholesale drinking water transfers from Canada. Our mindset has always been that freshwater is renewable and we’ve got tons of it (an estimated several hundred thousand lakes in Ontario alone). Do we?


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Sep. 27, 2010

11:44 am

I understood there already was legislation in place to control the removal of water contained in the Great Lakes. I understood there was an agreement between all bordering provinces and states to ensure this. What we need is someone to enforce the legislation.

Canadian Shaker

Sep. 21, 2010

6:28 am

We have two cottage properties fronting on Lake Huron just south of Tobermory. We purchased the first of these properties in 1985. Since 1986 we have had a front row seat to witness the dropping water level in Lake Huron. According to information posted on the U.S. Army Core of Engineer's web-site: Lake Huron and Lake Michigan water levels are now down over 49 inches since September of 1986. These same people predict this water level will drop another 3 inches by October 2010. Imagine for a moment the amount of water contained in a slice of water that is over four feet thick that is as long and wide as the combined surface area of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. I think you would agree that this is truly a staggering amount of fresh water. Well that is the amount of fresh water that is no longer contained in those two Great Lake watersheds. For the most part, you do not hear much about this shocking situation in the media. But now, given the seemingly renewed interest in dropping water levels all across Ontario, this unbelievable crisis should be better addressed by governments at all levels on both sides of the border. The Ontario Government recently announced a new initiative to become seen as a World Leader in the development and export of ideas regarding sustainable fresh water technology all around the world. Maybe we would all be better served if they would start showing true leadership and begin developing ideas and solutions to stop the declining water levels in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are vast reservoirs of fresh water. Right now those reservoirs are missing a large amount of water. For the sake of everything and everybody that depends on this water as the lifeblood of their existence, this water should be restored as quickly as possible and legislation put in place to ensure that it is not allowed to disappear again.

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