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WATER BULLETIN
WATER BULLETIN
-a service of the Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus-

Events & Opportunities

1. Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship needs your feedback on the regulation of cosmetic pesticides
2. Workshop: Water Sustainability in Canada's West July 30

3. Manitoba Releases New "Green Plan"

News

1.  RBC ROYAL BANK FUNDS LAKE WINNIPEG HEALTH PROGRAM
2.  Will the Province Protect the Little Saskatchewan River?

Resources

1.  Living Lakes Canada Gathering and Red Zone III Community Forum Conference Proceedings Now Available
2.  Video file of presentations on water-energy nexus is now available online
3. The new Guideline Technical Document for Enteric Viruses in drinking water is now available online

Events/Opportunities
 
 
1. Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship needs your feedback on the regulation of cosmetic pesticides
http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/envprograms/feedback.html
What should Manitoba's most important priorities be for the environment?
Do you support a different regulation of cosmetic pesticides?
How should the provincial government best regulate cosmetic pesticides?
Your suggestions and feedback are welcome. We are accepting feedback until October 1, 2012.
You may also send your feedback by mail or email:
Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship
Environmental Programs and Strategies Branch
1007 Century Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H 0W4
Email: cosmetic.pesticides@gov.mb.ca
The province is seeking public feedback on the sale and use of cosmetic lawn
and turf pesticides, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord
Mackintosh said today.
"We know other jurisdictions have restricted the use of cosmetic lawn
pesticides in areas where people may be exposed to them including
residential, institutional and recreational settings.  We want to hear from
Manitobans on this important issue," said Mackintosh.  "I encourage people
to review the background paper and provide comments to the province by this
October."
The province has created a paper called Play it SAFE that outlines the
background, explores options and raises awareness about the future use of
cosmetic pesticides in Manitoba.
Pesticides include chemicals used for the control of insects, fungi, weeds
and other pests.  The term cosmetic pesticides refers to the application of
pesticides to make lawns look better by killing weeds, insects and other
pests.
The use of pesticides in the agriculture and forestry sectors, on golf
courses and on sod farms, to control noxious weeds, invasive species and
mosquitoes or protect health is not the subject of this consultation.

 

 
 
2. Workshop: Water Sustainability in Canada's West
July 30th 2012 hosted by Oldman Watershed Council, Lethbridge 9:30am - 3:30pm 
A Workshop for Decision Makers, Community Leaders, and Water Managers   
Governments are responding to the emerging need to plan for and manage risks associated with extreme weather events, flooding, droughts and other climate related stressors on our community infrastructure systems.  
Water sustainability, climate variability, water scarcity, flooding, and the various demands of population and economic growth are influencing developers, infrastructure managers, city officials and provincial planners.  
This full-day workshop will provide an introduction to the drivers and trends toward low impact and green development and the "state of" municipal and provincial water and water management policy and legislation (rainwater & storm water capture, reuse, water infrastructure management), as they influence the planning and construction of provincial, municipal, and residential infrastructure-related projects.  
Topics include: 
Low Impact Development
LEED & Water Sustainability
Climate Adaptation & BMPs
Water Reclamation & Reuse 
Seminar Leaders:  
Lisa Maria Fox - Water Policy Analyst & Sustainability Consultant
A Policy Analyst by training, Lisa has been involved in developing provincial and municipal water, land and sustainable resource management policy, programs, and studies with the Alberta Government and several municipalities across Canada. Lisa is also the Founder and Executive Director of Sustainability Resources Ltd. 
Bernie Amell,  BLA, CSLA, Environmental Designer
Mr. Amell has a 35-year career focusing first on "normal" landscape architecture relating to his bachelors degree from the University of Guelph, and in the last 12 years evolving into a specialty in environmental design.  In the latter capacity, he has become recognized as an expert in the design of constructed wetlands for water treatment, and in the restoration of streams and riparian habitats.  To date, he has designed over 80 such projects throughout Alberta and in British Columbia
 
Registration Fees: $400 Government & Industry  - $200.00 Non-Profit & Citizen
Sustainability Resources Ltd. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing professional and educational resources to communities for sustainable water and land management in Alberta. We provide training and capacity building programs for municipalities, organizations, and industries on water policy, water conservation, and water management.  
Visit our website! www.sustainabilitycircle.ca




3. Manitoba Releases New "Green Plan" 6 July 12 ...from Manitoba Wildlands newsletter
Manitoba released Tomorrow Now: Manitoba's Green Plan June 15, 2012. The 54 page eight-year strategic plan calls for up to 16 new environmental plans or strategies, plus changes to existing laws and policies. There is no crown lands, parks or protected areas plan included.Examples of strategies/plans include:

  • Green Economy Action Plan
  • Energy Strategy
  • New Climate Plan
  • Peatlands Stewardship Strategy
  • New Water Conservation Strategy
  • Eco-Tourism Strategy
  • New Manitoba Boreal Plan
  • Moose Action Plans
New laws, regulations, policies and programs called for, include:
  • Replace the Sustainable Development Act with a new Green Prosperity Act;
  • New legislation and policies to protect species and their habitats;
  • Regulations requiring mandatory GHG emissions reporting and outlining thresholds and other key reporting requirements;
  • 15 "new" provincial parks, ecological reserves, and wildlife management areas;
  • New air quality management system;
  • Province wide network of e-waste depots;
  • Support for municipal and community based curbside organic pick-up and composting programs.
The new green plan does not contain a firm target for greenhouse gas emissions. The government failed to meet its previous target — a six per cent drop from 1990 levels by 2012. The number was based on the Kyoto Protocol and enshrined in provincial law.  "Before any other targets are concluded, it's absolutely critical that we have a mandatory reporting of emissions," Manitoba Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh acknowledged, adding "You can't cut what you can't count."
The public is invited to comment on TomorrowNow - Manitoba's Green
Plan by visiting www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/tomorrownowgreenplan,
before Oct. 31.


 
News 

1. RBC ROYAL BANK FUNDS LAKE WINNIPEG HEALTH PROGRAM June 22, 2012
New Computer Technology To Bolster Watershed Protection:  Mackintosh
Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh and Lynette 
Gillen, regional vice-president, RBC Royal Bank, today announced $225,000 in 
private sector funding for the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation's new 
stream bank and watershed health program focusing on Lake Winnipeg.
"This is an outstanding example of corporate social responsibility in action 
and we appreciate this grant to protect the quality of our water in 
Manitoba, specifically Lake Winnipeg," said Mackintosh.  "This new program 
will bring together governments, non-government organizations and private 
companies to support individuals and achieve common goals."
The funding will be used to put in place a newly developed computer tool 
that can analyze aerial photography to produce detailed maps of stream 
banks, and which can then be used to compare the health of different areas 
along a waterway so government and environmental organizations can 
prioritize resources in the right places.
Through the Green Banks:  Clear Waters project, the Manitoba Habitat 
Heritage Corporation and four local conservation districts (all of which 
have waters flowing directly into the Red River or Lake Winnipeg itself) 
will enhance the delivery of watershed health programming by:
* mapping the vegetation along several waterways in Manitoba,
* assessing the relative health of stream banks on a farm-scale, and
* delivering custom projects and workshops to improve watershed health and 
awareness.
"The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation and their partners, including the 
East Interlake Conservation District, are using new, innovative ways to 
support healthy practices for watersheds and watershed planning in 
Manitoba," said Gillen.  "RBC Royal Bank is pleased to support this project 
as part of our $50-million Blue Water Project that provides financial 
support to innovative watershed health programs."
The RBC Blue Water Project is an innovative, wide-ranging, 10-year global 
commitment to help protect the world's most precious natural resource: 
fresh water.  It includes a $50-million commitment to organizations that 
protect watersheds and ensure access to clean drinking water.
The RBC Blue Water Project also promotes responsible water use through 
awareness programs and supports programs that encourage businesses to 
develop and commercialize innovative solutions to the water issues facing 
the world.  Since 2007, RBC has pledged over $33 million to more than 500 
not-for-profit organizations worldwide to protect watersheds or ensure 
access to clean drinking water.
Established in 1986, the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation is a Crown 
corporation responsible to the minister of conservation and water 
stewardship with a mandate to conserve, enhance and restore fish and 
wildlife habitat.  In total, MHHC's conservation agreements now ensure more 
than 110,000 acres of wetlands, grasslands and riparian areas found on 
private land,  an area 12.5 times bigger than Birds Hill Provincial Park, 
will continue to be protected across the province.
For more information, visit www.mhhc.mb.caor www.rbc.com/bluewater.



2. Will the Province Protect the Little Saskatchewan River? From CCPA MB Fast Facts
 
The beautiful Little Saskatchewan River (LSR), recognized as a unique habitat for endangered, at-risk and common species, winds its way through Keesekoowenin First Nation and the towns of Minnedosa, Rapid City and Rivers in southwest Manitoba.  It empties into the Assiniboine River about 6 miles west of the City of Brandon’s water supply intake, from its headwaters at Riding Mountain National Park.   Three dams divide the river, providing recreational lakes, fisheries and drinking water.  It supplies water for livestock, smaller irrigation projects, recreation and a repository for waste water from the Husky Ethanol Plant and three towns.
 
The Rivers dam defines the lower reach of the river - a popular rafting, canoeing and kayaking location for Brandon and area residents.  Adjacent to Lake Wahtopanah’s Class 2 fishery above the dam, is a provincial park and residential/cottage development.
The health of the river’s aquatic and riparian ecosystems is under serious threat by a proposal from the Daly Irrigation Development Group (DIDG) to withdraw water to irrigate potatoes and cereal crops through 31 pivots.  Their proposal is being reviewed under Manitoba’sEnvironment Act. A license is expected to be issued in early July.
 
In dry years, the water flow through the Rivers dam is barely enough to ensure short-term fish survival. That’s a problem 15 out of 36 years. The river’s fragile ecosystem provides critical habitat for several endangered and at-risk species, yet the proponents and Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Licensing Branch believe that there’s enough public water to exploit for this private operation.  Growing food doesn’t have to harm the land and water.
 
Proponents say Rivers dam can be managed differently by supplementing low river flows to supply crops with water from the reservoir, by lowering lake levels.  This would assist the project in achieving its stated purpose to “provide financial and agronomic risk management for the partnership group, while providing necessary food production.”
 
Conservation’s licensors seems to have rejected this idea which could compromise the lake’s drinking water quality.  Instead, it’s maintained a way has been found to ensure enough flow is reserved to protect the ecosystem while giving the irrigators the amount of water at the extraction rate they want.  Closer examination of a draft licensing clause reveals the real potential for something different to happen.
It proposes the irrigators maintain a minimum instream flow of 18.5 cubic feet per second (cfs), “or as determined by Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship and in accordance with the provisions of a Water Rights License Issued for the development.”
At first glance the clause appears to be an immutable reservation of 18.5 cfs for riparian needs. It is not.  The discretion for Conservation and Water Stewardship to lower the minimum required riparian flow is built into the license.
 
The upper limit of 21 cfs for licensing purposes, called the firm annual yield of the reservoir, is calculated from actual flows recorded in the driest years.  Existing water licensees, including the Town of Rivers, have been allocated 7.7 cfs.  During drought periods, water available for aquatic and riparian needs is expected to be 21 cfs minus 7.7 cfs, or 13.3 cfs.  This flow is close to the bare minimum needed to maintain short-term fish survival.  The DIDG wants to remove water at a rate of 19.6 cfs.  If approved, the river’s water will be over-allocated.
 
To address this problem, Conservation proposes to allow the irrigators to extract water only at times when they think “excess” water is flowing over the dam.  Greatest demand for irrigation water occurs precisely during times of drought and, hence low river flow.
 Because of interest in developing the LSR as a source of irrigation water, the province determined that an instream flow study was needed to understand if water extraction is possible while protecting the ecosystem. This study will take years to complete. Meanwhile, Conservation wants to accommodate the desires of the irrigator group now, with no firm scientific understanding of what further level of development, if any, the LSR could sustain.
 
Potato producers are under contract to supply companies with product. The foremost interest of these companies is to guarantee a firm supply and producers, to deliver this contracted supply.  Agriculture industries of many types have consistently complained to the provincial government about economic hardship and losses when the province has attempted to impose or enforce measures to protect the environment.  It is reasonable to assume that these irrigators will make political hay of any decision to deny them access to water when they need it most.  At the same time when the aquatic and riparian ecosystem also needs it most.
Gordon Mackintosh, Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship, has the authority under the Water Rights Actto “refuse to issue a licence, if, in the opinion of the minister, the action authorized by the licence would negatively affect an aquatic ecosystem” and must consider the instream flows necessary to “ensure that aquatic ecosystems are protected and maintained.”  Without a completed and credible instream flow study, the departments have yet to develop the capacity to scientifically determine that giving water to the DIDG won’t harm both human and natural life in and around the River-- even during periods of higher flow.
 
The government’s stated commitment to the protection of water, aquatic ecosystems, rare and endangered species and their habitat, drinking water supplies, recreation and socio-economic benefits to communities that rivers provide and sustainable development in general, has no meaning if these irrigators are licensed to proceed before knowing what harm could befall the Little Saskatchewan River. 
 
The condition precedent for any further “development” of this important river must be the completion of a credible instream flow study.  To require one would clearly distinguish Manitoba’s environment and sustainable development policy from that of the Harper Conservative government.
 Ruth Pryzner
 



 
Resources 


1.  Living Lakes Canada Gathering and Red Zone III Community Forum  Conference Proceedings Now Available
In May 2012, Living Lakes Canada, in partnership with Wildsightand the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, held its first gathering. The event was aimed at inspiring change for Lake Winnipeg - one of the most eutrophic large lakes in the world.
 
More than 150 people representing NGO, government and industry attended from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, North Dakota, Germany and England. View the agenda, speakers bios & abstracts.  Key Gathering Outcomes:

  • The Gathering was the catalyst for the launch of the Save Lake Winnipeg Coalition;
  • Contributions from Living Lakes International showed Lake Winnipeg political and water leaders that our challenges are shared, and are solvable;
  • Furthered support toward the efforts to save the Experiment Lakes Area (ELA), including the submission of a letter of concern by Living Lakes International regarding the global significance of the research conducted by ELA.


2. Ben Parfitt and Carol Maas, video file of presentations on water-energy nexus is now available online.Please visit http://poliswaterproject.org/webinar/450to watch the video and download a two-page PDF summary of the webinar.



 
3. The new Guideline Technical Document for Enteric Viruses in drinking water is now available on Health Canada's web site at the following address: 
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/water-eau/enteric-enterovirus/index-eng.php