This fall, we’re excited to launch a book that brings to light one of the leading environmental issues Canada is currently facing. In Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis, bestselling author and activist Maude Barlow lays bare the issues facing Canada’s water reserves, including long-outdated water laws, unprotected groundwater reserves, industrial-waste dumping, boil-water advisories, and the effects of deforestation and climate change.
Maude Barlow is one of the world’s foremost water activists and she has been on the front lines of the world’s water crises for the past 20 years. She has seen first-hand the scale of the water problems facing much of the world, but also many of the solutions that are being applied. In Boiling Point, she brings this wealth of experience and expertise home to craft a compelling blueprint for Canada’s water security.
Killer facts about the Canadian Water Crisis:
The South Saskatchewan River has been called the most threatened river in Canada. It has lost 12% of its flow due to over-extraction.
80% of the Great Lakes is fossil water, left over from the last glacial melt. If we draw down below that level, the lakes will never replenish.
Water loss due to fracking in Alberta was 17 billion litres.
Earthquakes are on the rise in every area that fracks. The US Geological Survey just confirmed that the rise in earthquakes are directly related to fracking activity. Alberta experienced 15 earthquakes in January 2016 alone.
Every year, global mining activity uses 9 trillion litres of water, as much as is used by the entire country of Malaysia with 30 million people. And every year, mining dumps 180 million tonnes of hazardous waste into the water. One of the world’s 4 worst dumpers is the Wabush/Scully mine in Labrador.
With 4,412 active and abandoned mine sites and 5,000 recorded mine hazards, Ontario now ranks highest for environmental liability in the mining sector and it is the only province in Canada that does not require environmental assessments before mines are developed.
If the water used to make plastic bottles is included, it takes 3 litres of water to produce one litre of bottled water.
Canadians purchase about 2.4 billion litres of bottled water a year – about 68 litres per person. Municipal tap water is subject to multiple tests a day to ensure safety and quality but bottled water is considered a food and falls under the Food and Drugs Act. On average, bottled water plants are inspected every three years.
Water crisis in the news
Toronto Star, Jayme Poisson and David Bruser, “Ontario environment officials concerned that clear-cut logging releases mercury,” September 14, 2016
“Clear-cut logging has been linked to creating higher mercury levels in fish. Here’s how it happens: Mercury gets released into the atmosphere from coal-fired power plants and incinerators and later rains down in forests where it gets trapped in the soil. But when a forested area is clear-cut (a large number of trees in one area are uniformly cut down), mercury can run off into lakes and rivers, where its potency gets magnified in aquatic life and travels up the food chain.”
CBC News, “Arrests made in Blood Tribe fracking blockade,” September 11, 2016
Huffington Post, Liam Massaubi, “Who Can We Hold Accountable For The First Nations Water Crisis?,” September 2, 2016
CBC News, Marina von Stackelberg, “Weaknesses in TransCanada pipeline could pose risk to North Bay's drinking water source,” September 1, 2016
Windsor Star, Mary Caton, “Local mayors join call to reverse decision on Great Lakes water diversion plan,” August 29, 2016
The Guardian, Ashifa Kassam, “Construction of giant dam in Canada prompts human rights outcry,” August 9, 2016
CKNW News, Simon Little, “First Nations launch lawsuit against Mount Polley mine,” August 04, 2016
CBC News, “Husky oil spill: Pipelines close to rivers a bad idea, scientist says,” July 28, 2016
The Toronto Star, David Bruser, “Star Investigation: A Poisoned People,” July 24, 2016
CTV News, “Oil spills into North Sask. River after pipeline leak,” July 21, 2016
The New York Times, Les Neuhaus, “Miles of Algae and a Multitude of Hazards,” July 18, 2016
The New York Times, Vince Beiser, “The World’s Disappearing Sand,” June 23, 2016
CBC News, “Great Lakes states approve U.S. city's plan to draw water from Lake Michigan,” June 21, 2016
The Toronto Star, Diana Mehta, “U.S. plan to draw water from Great Lakes approved, raising concerns in Canada,” June 21, 2016
U.S. Uncut, Nathan Wellman, "Nestlé Just Suffered a Major Defeat as Community Blocks Water Privatization," June 16, 2016
CBC News, “Energy East pipeline rejected by aboriginal group” February 9, 2016
Daily Kos, Jen Hayden, “U.S. Geological Survey: Fracking waste is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in earthquakes,” Feb 23, 2015