Canada is home to 20 per cent of the world’s freshwater and, while Canadians believe it to be pristine and abundant, the World Wildlife Fund-Canada says it is at risk. The conservation group issued a report on all 25 of Canada’s watersheds and found freshwater ecosystems to be ‘under tremendous stress.’
The stress is said to be caused by human activities like pollution, agricultural runoff, habitat loss, oil and gas development and hydro-electrical dams. A news release says that “even more alarming is the fact that as a nation, we don’t collect enough data to know just how much damage all this stress is causing.”
‘Freshwater essential to our…survival’
Where there is data, the study found almost two-thirds of smaller rivers flowing from water sheds have fair or poor water quality. All are said to already be affected by climate change and more than half have experienced significant habitat loss.
WWF-Canada is calling for the Canadian government to set up a standardized national freshwater monitoring system. The news release notes: “In an increasingly hot and thirsty world, freshwater is essential to our health, our economy — indeed, our very survival.”