The results are in. Here are the top freshwater news stories of 2016, according to you. Stories of water protectors, stories of success and stories of need struck particular cords with you last year.
Stories of water protectors: whether it was in response to proposed projects like Site C and pipelines, or First Nations in BC declaring the first indigenous water laws, we have seen community champions stand up for freshwater health across the country (and continent).
Stories of success: In 2016, we saw microplastics banned federally; we saw the Ontario government respond to public concern on water bottling practices in the province; and we saw what is hopefully the start of reinstating (and maybe even improving) lost freshwater protections across Canada’s environmental laws.
Finally, stories of need struck a chord with you, as threats to freshwater health continue to emphasize the need for greater protections: lakes in Nevada and California actually disappeared; billions of litres of sewage poured into Canadian waterways; and, a bitumen spill near Cold Lake, Alberta continues to leak... after seven years.
But what do you hope will be the big news of 2017?
Will it be the revitalization (and enforcement) of freshwater rules? Will BC be the first province in Canada to regulate and enforce environmental flow needs, guaranteeing (in law) enough water to sustain human, fish and animal populations? Will the massive infrastructure deficit that many of our communities across the country face begin to close because of smart federal infrastructure investments? Will these investments go a step further and promote transformative, green infrastructure solutions? Will provinces such, as BC and Ontario, put groundwater health and community need before corporate interests, changing the permitting and licensing requirements for water bottlers?
Or perhaps the pressures between energy choices and water health will finally be a turning point in economic decision-making, demonstrated by decisions around the Kinder-Morgan, Energy East, Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines, and the protection of the Chaco Canyon from fracking.
Thanks for your input. These are inspiring stories of the future that we can all continue to work towards together!