WATER BULLETIN a service of the Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus
Events & Opportunities
1.Living Waters Rally (Sept 21-24) – a national gathering in Ottawa to support, inspire and build capacity of Canada’s non-profit water leaders. 2.The proposed Guidance Document for waterborne bacterial pathogens in drinking water: provide comments and suggestions by
September 21, 2012.
1. Living Waters Rally (September 21-24) – a national gathering in ottawa to support, inspire and build capacity of Canada’s non-profit water leaders.
In September 2011, the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation released a report titled “Canadian Waterscape – Gaps and Needs in Canada’s Non-profit Water Community.”
Among a number of key findings, the study confirmed that a large majority of non-profit water leaders would value more opportunities to come together in peer learning, networking and skills building to strengthen efforts to protect and restore the health of Canada’s waters.
In direct response to these findings, WWF-Canada and the Freshwater Alliance have partnered, and with the support of RBC Blue Water Project, are creating a forum for the Canadian freshwater community to come together – the Living Waters Rally. Whether its Fisheries Habitat, Creek Restoration, Gravel Mining, Fracking or community water education that you are working on, you will find a tremendous network of peer water stewards at the 2012 Living Waters Rally! With over 25 concurrent workshops, key-notes and full group plenaries you are bound to find the training, peer-learning and networking opportunities that you have been seeking!
Registration is now open at www.livingwatersrally.ca
Space is limited and scholarships to support travel and registration are available.
Deadline for scholarship applications is July 30th.
Living Waters Rally is an initiative of the founding members of the Canadian Freshwater Alliance - including WWF-Canada, Living Lakes Network Canada and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.
3. Developing a National Agenda for Research on Municipal Wastewater and Biosolids: Public Consultation Open Until February 21, 2012
The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), in developing the Canada-wide Strategies for the Management of Municipal Wastewater and Biosolids, identified the need for coordinated scientific research. Although significant research on municipal wastewater and biosolids was being undertaken in Canada, it lacked coordination in priority setting, execution and dissemination. To address these issues, CCME proposed the formation of a Science and Research Coordination Body. The Canadian Water Network (CWN), the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), Environment Canada, and the CCME formed an initial Science and Research Coordination Body and developed a broad mandate with efforts to be focused in three strategic areas:
Developing a prioritized, coordinated National Research Agenda for Wastewater and Biosolids (the Agenda) through a consultative process (led by Environment Canada).
Implementing the Agenda by facilitating/managing partner-based research consortia (led by the CWN).
Disseminating research information through workshops, newsletters, and a national website (led by the CWWA).
4. The public has until September 20, 2012 to provide commentsas announced by Manitoba Environment Statement for Keeyask Dam Filed
(from Manitoba Wildlands newsletter)
The Keeyask Hydro Power Limited Partnership (between Manitoba Hydro and four Manitoba First Nations) filed the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to seek a Manitoba Environment Act license for the proposed Keeyask Hydroelectric Dam July 6, 2012.
Conservation and Water Stewardship Environmental Approvals Branch in the July 14, 2012 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press. The Keeyask Hydro Power Limited Partnership previously filed an Environment Act Proposal Form (EAPF) and a "Scoping Document for the Environmental Assessment of the Keeyask Generation Project" with Manitoba Conservation Environmental Approvals Branch December 9, 2011. Manitoba Wildlands provided comments on February 3, 2012. The application for an interim Water Power Act license for the Keeyask dam was filed February 8, 2012. The public has until August 31, 2012 to provide comments to Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship Water Use Licensing Section as also announced in the July 14, 2012 Winnipeg Free Press.
Modern dams in Manitoba require at least three licenses. Two licenses from the Manitoba government: a Water Power Act license, and an Environment Act License. The Wuskwatim generating station, which was started in 2006 and is nearing completion, was the first hydroelectric dam in Manitoba required to obtain an Environment Act license. All previous dams in Manitoba were only required to obtain Water Power Act licenses. Many dams in Manitoba still only operate with interim Water Power Act licenses. The Keeyask Dam will also require a federal license under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).
A project description for the Keeyask Generating Station was submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency August 31, 2011. Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines were finalized May 29, 2012. The Agency determined that a comprehensive study for review under (CEAA) was required. Also, because the comprehensive study was underway before Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (part of the Canadian 2012 Omnibus Budget Bill) came into force, the former Act will apply. Export of any energy from the Keeyask dam would also require a permit from the Nation Energy Board.
1. Niagara Catholic District School Board has recently become the 11th school board in Canada to take proactive action to preserve public water sources and to push back on the bottled water industry.
Thus far, 87 municipalities and 24 post-secondary campuses have taken similar action. Congratulations and let's keep the momentum going!
The Coalition for bottled water free communities is already preparing for next year's Bottled Water Free day by preparing new campaign materials. Stay tuned for updates in the next month about some suggested campaign activities for the fall. www.backthetap.ca www.insidethebottle.org
2. DIDG Licensed: Little Saskatchewan River Unprotected (from CCPA news, by Ruth Pryzner)
On the day the Fast Facts titled Will the Province Protect the Little Saskatchewan River was published (July 5, 2012), the Daly Irrigation Development Group (DIDG) was granted Environment Act license No. 3010. Two days earlier a formal request, specifying numerous concerns, had been made of Gord Macintosh, Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship to deny the license.
Many of the thirty-three conditions in the license fail to protect fish, endangered and at-risk species, recreational and other established shared uses of the River. As expected, flexibility to adjust current license requirements during periods of low flow in the Little Saskatchewan River has been built into the license. It is now possible for the amount of water reserved for ecosystem needs to be lowered so that the irrigators may get the water they need despite Conservation’s unofficial assurance that the flow rate for riparian needs may only be adjusted after the completion of an in-stream flow study.
The issuance of the Environment Act license and many of its conditions was expected for a number of reasons.
First, clear, yet unofficial, assurances were provided that lowering the level of Lake Wahtopanah (created by the Rivers Dam), in low flow years to supply 2600 acre feet of water for the irrigators was not a viable option. Yet in the project summary for DIDG, the option of adjusting lake levels is presented twice. Available studies on the historic flow in the Little Saskatchewan River downstream of the dam show that the reservoir was unable to deliver enough water downstream to maintain a flow more than sufficient to support short-term fish survival in 15 out of 36 years. (The Environmental review summary is at http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/eal/archive/2012/summaries/5577.pdf.)
Further, License 3010 conditions expose problems with environmental assessment, licensing and enforcement in Manitoba. For example, DIDG must “install buried pipelines on cultivated land or land in its natural state in accordance with the methodology” attached to the license. However, DIDG has been installing pipeline for two years. When this was brought to the attention of the Conservation official drafting License 3010, along with a request for guidance on how to make a complaint, he responded, “On their land, the owners can clear trees, install pipe, install pivots, plant potatoes, etc. anytime they want. But those activities are not what makes the operation a Development under the act.” Rather, the “trigger” was a desire to use water. “There is certainly nothing to enforce under the Environment Act, and most likely not under any other act either.” Further, he reported DIDG was installing infrastructure at “their own risk.”
Including a condition on pipeline installation suggests there is something to enforce under the Environment Act, the Act from which assessment, licensing and enforcement authority is derived. This signals DIDG’s ability to legally install pipeline on private land was actually supposed to be regulated by License 3010. Why was this condition included if irrigators can legally install such infrastructure prior to the issuance of an Environment Act license?
Indeed, DIDG’s consultant identified the project as a Class 2 development “thereby requiring a valid and subsisting licence from Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Assessment and Licensing Branch (EALB) for construction, alteration or operation.”
Perhaps DIDG’s understanding of the level of “risk” in proceeding with pipeline installation prior to receipt of a license was mitigated by the fact that Water Use Licensing had issued two temporary authorizations to a DIDG partner. One was issued last July, one this spring, allowing the partner to install a pump and pipeline and use water prior to environmental assessment. While a water licensing official explained that there was “excess water” in the system, the partner was allowed to extract only 46 acre feet in 2012, and equipment was to be installed in a manner “as if they had an Environment Act license.”
To allow infrastructure development to proceed without proper environmental assessment facilitated through a series of temporary authorizations is a circumvention of the spirit, intent and letter of the Environment Act.
In the absence of a credible in-stream flow study, which the departments have been mandated to undertake, the capacity to determine what constitutes excess water in this ecosystem does not yet exist. Water Licensing’s practice of calculating water availability on the basis of volume and “water budgets” fails to address in-stream flows required to protect habitat. How can a credible in-stream flow study now be done when the flow parameters will change as a result of the project’s water withdrawals?
Finally, the most onerous conditions of the license include DIDG taking daily pictures of the degree to which the riffle fish habitat next to the pump intakes are exposed, developing and following a dissolved oxygen monitoring plan there, recording volumes and flow rates of water use and river flow rates directly up and downstream of the pumps. Reports are to be submitted to Conservation by March 1 the following year. Why does the license not require weekly reporting to the local enforcement office?
DIDG monitoring the effects of water use on downstream habitat is not included in the license. This fragmented approach focuses on a single riffle fish habitat with no requirement to determine impacts on habitat and other uses downstream.
Only if the director has specific concerns, will DIDG be required to sample, monitor and investigate to determine the environmental impact associated with this specific concern.
On the farm, we call this the fox guarding the chicken house.
It appears this is of little concern to Minister Macintosh. Having been appraised of concerns and without an in-stream flow study in hand, he has allowed the license to be issued. It remains to be seen what the minister and cabinet will do with any appeals that may be submitted before August 5 and if they will act to protect the public rather than private interests.
3. How Ottawa fumbled the fisheries file – The Globe and Mail July 18
On July 6, 2012, the Globe and Mail published an important opinion piece about Ottawa’s work on fisheries issues: Stephen Harper prides himself on being an astute political manager. However, the recent amendments to the Fisheries Act, contained in Bill C-38, the 2012 Budget Implementation Act, are the work of a political amateur. They will not help him get new pipelines built and they do not help his re-election prospects, since they have mobilized significant opposition, including from within the Conservative Party, and the manner of their passage lacks all legitimacy. Why has this seasoned veteran acted like such a rookie on the fisheries file? Read the entire piece, co-written by DOUGLAS MACDONALD, DAVID MCROBERT AND MIRIAM DIAMOND via How Ottawa fumbled the fisheries file – The Globe and Mail.
1. Climate Change trends in Sea Ice
A recent Statistics Canada article on Sea ice trends in Canada published in EnviroStats examines trends over a 43-year period (1968 to 2010) in the average area covered by sea ice during the summer in Canada’s North. Trends of total sea ice are reported for nine sea ice regions, and multi-year sea ice (older than 1 year) are reported for the five regions where multi-year ice is present, including three traditional shipping route regions. The sea ice time series and climatological analysis were produced by Environment Canada’s Climate Research Division, using publicly available weekly sea ice charts produced by the Canadian Ice Service.
The analysis found that all nine sea ice regions had statistically significant decreases in total sea ice coverage in summer over the study period. Two of the three shipping route regions showed statistically significant decreases in mean total sea ice coverage in summer. Only one of five regions (Baffin Bay) showed statistically significant increasing trends in mean multi-year sea ice coverage in summer.
The article is the fourth in a series, focused on short statistical analyses of climate-related data, made available to Statistics Canada by Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada, as required through a Memorandum of Understanding on the dissemination of environmental statistics. To date, the series has included trend analysis on glacier mass balance, temperature, and precipitation. Contact: Anne Walker, 416-739-4357, Anne.Walker@ec.gc.ca, Climate Research Division
2. Filling the Gaps: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Inventory Guidelines - Wetlands2012-02-06
A supplement to describe the new global understanding of how wetlands fit into the national inventories of emissions and removals of greenhouse gases will address gaps within the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands. Approximately 75 experts representing 30 countries recently met in Hayama, Japan, where lead authors and coordinating lead authors framed the supplement to the 2006 report.
Environment Canada’s Dr. Rick Bourbonniere is on the lead-author team of 10 experts for Chapter 2, Cross-Cutting Guidance on Organic Soils. This chapter will address wetland drainage, land use and land use intensity changes, fires on peatlands, and additional methodology for organic soils in the five Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) landscape classes: forestlands, croplands, grasslands, wetlands, and settlements.
The 2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands will take about 15 months to complete and undergo a scientific peer review and a national governments’ review before it is formally presented to the IPCC.
3. Harvard Study Finds Fluoride in Water Lowers IQ – Published in Federal Gov’t Journal
New York – July 24, 2012 – Harvard University researchers’ review of fluoride/brain studies concludes “our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children’s neurodevelopment.” It was published online July 20 in Environmental Health Perspectives, a US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ journal (1), reports the NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. (NYSCOF)
Fluoride (fluosilicic acid) is added to US water supplies at approximately 1 part per million attempting to reduce tooth decay.
Water was the only fluoride source in the studies reviewed and was based on high water fluoride levels. However, they point out research by Ding (2011) suggested that low water fluoride levels had significant negative associations with children’s intelligence.
Choi et al. write, “Although fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in animal models and acute fluoride poisoning causes neurotoxicity in adults, very little is known of its effects on children’s neurodevelopment.” They recommend more brain/fluoride research on children and at individual-level doses.
“It’s senseless to keep subjecting our children to this ongoing fluoridation experiment to satisfy the political agenda of special-interest groups,” says attorney Paul Beeber, NYSCOF President. “Even if fluoridation reduced cavities, is tooth health more important than brain health? It’s time to put politics aside and stop artificial fluoridation everywhere,” says Beeber.
After reviewing fluoride toxicological data, the National Research Council reported in 2006, “It’s apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain.”
Choi’s team writes, “Fluoride readily crosses the placenta. Fluoride exposure to the developing brain, which is much more susceptible to injury caused by toxicants than is the mature brain, may possibly lead to damage of a permanent nature.”
Fluoride accumulates in the body. Even low doses are harmful to babies, the thyroid, kidney patients and heavy water-drinkers. There are even doubts about fluoridation’s effectiveness (2). New York City Legislation is pending to stop fluoridation. Many communities have already stopped
Infant formula when mixed with fluoridated water delivers 100-200 times more fluoride than breastmilk. (3)
More information on fluoride’s impact on the brain is here. http://www.fluoridation.webs.com http://www.FluorideAction.Net
SOURCE: NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.