The debate on new pipelines in Canada has never been greater. And there’s no doubt that watersheds with pipeline’s have been impacted by incidents of water contamination. In 2015, the National Energy Board took a giant leap towards public transparency by publishing an incidents map detailing pipeline incidents across the country.
Wherever there are pipelines, there are pipeline incidents. Some may be relatively minor, but others can have lasting effects on water in the region. A 2017 spill leaked 25,000 litres of crude oil just west of Bragg Creek near Calgary. The area is popular for outdoor recreational activities but was contained and cleaned in just over a week with restoration efforts following. In 2016, a spill in Saskatchewan leaked 225,000 litres of oil into the North Saskatchewan river and shut down drinking water for North Battleford, Prince Albert and numerous other communities in the region.
The good news is, pipeline incidents only threaten 16% of the Canada’s watersheds. WWFs Freshwater Health report identifies that 65% of watershed have no threats identified by transboundary pipelines. However, this indicator only measures transboundary pipelines regulated federally. Any pipelines that are entirely within a provincial boundary would not be included.
5-Year target: To advance measure to include provincially or regionally regulated pipelines and to ensure that no additional waterways are threatened by pipeline incidents.
Last updated June 2017