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Canadian groundwater is under major threat

The Canwest News Service reports this morning that, “Close to 10 million Canadians depend on drinking water that comes from beneath their feet and is increasingly threatened by misuse and contamination, says a sobering new report.”
A 15-member panel of The Council of Canadian Academies (a national science advisory board) chaired by James Bruce, a former Environment Canada scientist, is releasing their 315-page report today. The report was commissioned by the federal government two years ago.

The report finds:

1- “It is ‘imperative’ that steps be taken to improve groundwater management across Canada”

2- “‘Rampant’ urbanization, climate change, energy production, intensification of agriculture and contamination are growing threats to groundwater”

3- “reliable estimates of groundwater in Canada do not yet exist — and key information won’t be available for20 years at the rate a national groundwater mapping program is moving”

4- “the threats to the ‘vital resource’ – from farmer’s fertilizers to Alberta’s oilsand operations to the more than 28,000 contaminated sites across Canada – continue to mount”

5- “Canadians will be even more dependent on groundwater as the country grows”

6-” the impact of land-use practices and over-exploitation (of groundwater) can take years, even decades, to show up”

7- “chronic contamination of groundwater in Prince Edward Island and a large aquifer (Abbotsford-Sumas aquifer) straddling the Canada-U.S. border southeast of Vancouver”

8- “The Geological Survey of Canada, assessing 30 important regional aquifers across the country, needs to speed up the work”

9- “Mining and coal bed-methane extraction are also flagged as problems”

The article notes that, “the report, which calls for concerted action by all levels of government to prevent over-use and misuse.”

The full article can be read at http://www.canada.com/Canadian+groundwater+under+major+threat+Study/1584276/story.html

The Council of Canadian Academies report can be read at http://www.scienceadvice.ca/documents/(2009-05-11)%20GW%20Report.pdf