Premiers Endorse Water Charter

WINNIPEG, August 6, 2010 - Premiers today endorsed the Council of the Federation Water Charter recognizing the collective obligation of Canadians and their governments to be responsible water stewards.

Water is a vital natural resource that is a necessity for all life on earth. Yet, Canada is ranked second highest among OECD countries for per capita water consumption.

Canadians can and must do better.

An adequate and safe water supply is critical for every community and provides for the health and welfare of its residents. Ensuring water quality in rural and remote areas is particularly important.

Water technologies and services represent a tremendous economic opportunity in a four hundred billion dollar global market. Premiers agreed to continue to support research, development, and adoption of innovative technologies to advance water conservation and quality.

Premiers directed their Ministers to use the Water Charter as a guide in their work.

Premiers challenged individual Canadians, businesses and governments to reduce water consumption; increase water efficiency; and protect our water quality.

As this past year has demonstrated, some Canadians have also been faced with too much water due to excessive runoff and excessive rain, while others have grappled with prospects of drought and water scarcity. Canadians in coastal communities are increasingly at risk of salt water intrusion into fresh water supplies due to rising sea levels and larger storm surges. Canadians also need to be better prepared to deal with diverse water-related events, particularly as our climate changes.

All Canadians have an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting the environment and adapting to the effects of climate change. Premiers reviewed the current state of international discussions on climate change and energy. They agreed to continue to closely monitor developments in the United States and with the United Nations and Copenhagen Accord. Premiers continue to work in their own jurisdictions to advance climate change initiatives and also encourage the federal government to partner with provinces and territories by strategically investing in programs that support climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Premiers are pleased to announce that an online community of practice on climate change adaptation was launched in July, which will be initially sponsored by the Council of the Federation. The online community will facilitate the sharing of knowledge among academics and experts across the country with the goal of assisting governments on climate change adaptation and supporting all provinces and territories in their efforts to incorporate climate change adaptation into planning and policies.