ISSUES IN CANADA
Science and Technology Division
AS A RESOURCE
COST OF CLEAN WATER
1. Primary Treatment
d. Waste Stabilization
3. Tertiary Treatment
Purification of Drinking Water
CANADIAN MUNICIPAL WATER
Canadians are the world's
second largest per capita users of water(1)
with the average Canadian household using 360 litres of water per day.(2)
Water is used in all sectors of our society industry, agriculture,
transportation, energy, recreation as well as by municipalities
and it must undergo some degree of treatment before being used and returned
to the water system. This paper examines issues relating to municipal
water use: water consumption, wastewater treatment, water pricing and
Canada has roughly 9% of
the world's annual renewable freshwater supply;(3)
however, over half of the water run-off in Canada flows north, away from
the centres of population and industry, leaving scarce supplies in some
southern regions. In developed areas, pollution has significantly impaired
the natural quality of the resource.(4)
Increasing urbanization, together with inadequate infrastructures for
water treatment, is leading to concerns about the quality of the water
we consume and the deterioration of the receiving waters of municipal
treatment facilities. The cost of collecting, storing and distributing
water is also increasing. Approximately 57% of Canadians, compared with
74% of Americans, 86.5% of Germans, and 99% of Swedes, are served by wastewater
Concern over the quality
of water for consumption and the decreasing quality of receiving waters
has led some government departments to look at how municipal treatment
facilities are complying with the Fisheries Act. The municipal
use and treatment of water are the focus of this document.
AS A RESOURCE
balance will not be easy. The policies, laws, and practices that shape
water use today rarely promote all three basic tenets of sustainable
resource use efficiency, equity, and ecological integrity.(5)
Water is a basic necessity
of life; it is not only essential for our survival, but it contributes
immeasurably to the quality of our lives. It is used in agriculture, industry,
transportation, energy production, and manufacturing; for municipalities,
it is a vehicle for removing waste and sustaining life. The way we use
water, the amount we use, and our methods of preserving it are very important
for the sustainability of this resource. Unlike many other vital resources,
water has no substitute in most of the activities and processes where
it is needed in society and in nature. Yet, despite its importance and
increasing scarcity, water is seldom considered to be a resource like
All the fresh water in the
world's lakes, streams and rivers represents less than 0.01% of the earth's
total water store.(7) Some
uses remove water from the natural cycle and others lower its quality
before returning it.(8)
The estimated amount of water available annually for human exploitation
is 9,000 km3, in principle enough to sustain 20 billion people.(9)
The problem is that the available water is not evenly distributed, so
that there are water-scarce countries and water-rich countries. A citizen
of the United States uses 70 times more water than the average citizen
of Ghana. Sustainable supplies of this resource can be achieved only by
having a water management strategy and direction in management and policy
Global Water Cycle
The global water cycle has
three major pathways: precipitation, evaporation and vapour transport.
Water precipitates from the sky as rain or snow, most of which falls into
the oceans; it returns to the atmosphere by evaporation. Some flows from
the land to the sea as runoff or groundwater; in the other direction water
vapour is carried by atmospheric currents from the sea to the land.(10)
Taking heed of water's
limits, and learning to live within them, amounts to a major transformation
in our relationship to fresh water.(11)
Although water is a
renewable resource, it is also a finite one. The water cycle makes
available only so much each year in a given location. That means supplies
per person, a broad indicator of water security, drop as population
The world's rate of water
consumption has escalated so rapidly in the past 30 years, that,
unless it is reduced, not only water-scarce countries,(13)
but even Canada may face a water shortage.
Estimated Annual World Water Use, Total by Sector, 1900-2000(14)
Global water use has more
than tripled since the 1950s and now stands at an estimated 4,340 km3
per year.(15) Water planners
have responded to these increasing demands by introducing water projects,
including dams and diversion projects, and by tapping aquifer water. These
options are either running dry or carry economical, political and ecological
price tags that no longer make them attractive options.(16)
If human needs are to be met, a new approach to water management must
develop. Three directions may be undertaken immediately by 1) treating
water as a resource and paying the real cost; 2) developing water conservation
programs that help meet the increasing water needs without drawing further
on natural water sources; 3) addressing the complex interactions between
land, vegetation and water, including the effects of human activities
that decrease the sustainability of water supplies. Some such effects
are salinization due to over-irrigation, erosion, flooding and water system
siltation from deforestation and development (land use), and pollution
from industrial and municipal water discharges.
Canadian water resources
are overused; residential water use is two to three times that of some
European countries. Our overuse costs billions of dollars in supply and
wastewater infrastructure. Four areas present concern: first, we do relatively
little water recycling compared to other nations and large amounts of
public capital are spent to develop irrigation systems;(17)
second, water planners often tend to treat claims on our water as "requirements"
that must be met rather than "demands" to be managed;(18)
third, research into water issues tends to be underfunded through the
private sector; last, and most important, is the deterioration of the
quality of the Canadian water supply.
Water supply and wastewater
systems are essential to the social and economic functioning of our modern
community, not only from the point of view of health, but to service a
large sector of our commercial and industrial activity, and to protect
against fire and flooding.(19)
Water use is broadly divided
into two categories: instream use and withdrawal use. "Instream use"
includes any use of the water in its natural setting; fishing, boating,
shipping and hydro-electricity are examples. "Withdrawal uses"
include those that remove the water for use on land. Water is withdrawn
from a stream, lake, river, groundwater supply or the ocean, and piped,
channelled or transported to the site of use. After use, the water is
re-collected and returned to the groundwater or water system. Examples
include household and municipal uses, industrial use, thermal and nuclear
power generation, irrigation, and livestock watering.(20)
Both types of water use affect the quality of the source water. Instream
use leads to pollution by ship oil and diesel, while hydro-electric facilities
affect the natural routes of water systems and reservoirs cause evaporation
and flooding as well as natural mineral and element leachate. Withdrawal
use often returns less water than it removed(21)
and the water it returns is usually of a lower quality. The largest consumptive
use of water is crop irrigation, followed by evaporation from large hydro
Figure 3: Water Use in
...primary health care
includes at least an adequate supply of safe water and basic sanitation.(24)
The quality of water desired
varies, depending on the intended use. The importance of the quality of
water destined for human consumption is not a recent discovery. In his
writings on public health, Hippocrates (460-377 BC) placed particular
stress on the essential role of water in maintaining health, even recommending
that rainwater be filtered and boiled before consumption. It was not until
1854 that the English doctor John Snow, while conducting epidemiological
studies on cholera, proved beyond a doubt that water could transport infectious
agents. There was no particular move to water treatment in Canada until
the typhoid epidemics in the early 1900s. Fredericton, New Brunswick,
lays claim to having had the first water filtration plant in Canada.(25)
The quality of water for
drinking and bathing is regulated by guidelines stringent enough to protect
human health.(26) Lack
of such guidelines leads to a number of health problems. It is estimated
that contaminated water and poor sanitation cause 30,000 deaths around
the world every day.(27)
Statistics reveal that many Canadians, particularly native people living
in smaller communities in remote areas of Canada, have drinking water
quality and sanitation levels considerably lower than the national average
and in some instances below the objectives of the World Health Organization.
In most parts of Canada,
there are plentiful sources of good drinking water. Water-related illnesses
such as typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, giardiasis, and hepatitis are
almost unknown in this country, whereas 80% of the diseases in the third
world are water-related. Of serious concern in Canada are toxic chemicals
entering our water systems from many sources, including industry, agriculture
and the home. Little is known about the effects of these substances on
human health; often they do not become noticeable for many years, and
they are difficult to distinguish from the effects of other factors.(28)
Much remains to be done to control toxic chemical pollution at its source.
COST OF CLEAN WATER
Water is free; the cost
of water is incurred in its treatment, pumping, delivery and pressure,
and in treatment of waste. "Canadians should be paying more for the
water they use," according to Environment Minister Jean Charest.(29)
In Canada, the price of water varies greatly from province to province
and even within provinces. Water rate schedules(30)
across the country are extremely diverse, each municipality having its
own unique set of rates. In the 470 municipalities included in the 1987
Environment Canada study,(31)
over 1,100 individual rate schedules were found. There are four main types:
flat rate (the most common), constant unit rate, declining block rate
and increasing block rate.
Types of Rate Structures (32)
pays a fixed rater per time period for unlimited access to public
is divided into two or more volume ranges or blocks. The rates
decline progressively for water use in the larger blocks.
decreasing as water use increases
per unit of water use (e.g. cubic meter) are constant through
the range of usage.
to decreasing block rates except that rates increase progressively
through the range of usage.
increasing as water use increases
Almost all rate schedules
offer either no financial incentive (e.g., flat rates) or decreasing incentives
(e.g., declining block rates) to minimize water use and the costs of the
water systems. As a result, over 70% of these schedules do nothing to
discourage excessive water demand.(33)(34)
Water as a resource is undervalued.
Residential water servicing costs between $0.50-$0.60 per cubic metre.(35)
In Canada, 33% of the public water supplies are on a flat-rate basis;
in other words, excessive use is cost-free to the consumer. Industrial
water costs are less than half the cost of supply. Irrigation water is
subsidized to 85% of the cost of developing the systems.(36)
Canadian water pricing does not on the whole support a sustainable use
Many existing treatment
facilities are becoming increasingly inadequate: water mains, sewers and
treatment plants are aging and gradually deteriorating, with some systems
in older cities being over 100 years old.(37)
It is estimated that $10 billion is needed for improvements to municipal
sewer and water systems in this country. One of the reasons that this
money is not available is that Canadians are not paying the true cost
of their water.
The argument is that the
water rate structure must be revised to benefit conservation. In Canada,
37% of the people pay a flat rate for water, regardless of consumption,
while 34% of municipalities are on "declining block rates" for
water pricing, whereby costs decrease with each additional unit used.
To maintain a sustainable supply of fresh water, we need a more realistic
pricing policy that would encourage conservation and reduce the need to
disrupt natural systems to find alternative water sources. Education for
appropriate use of municipal sewage systems reduces the amounts of toxins
deposited and thus decreases the costs of treatment, repair and maintenance.
The 1987 Federal Water Policy called for realistic water pricing as a
central measure to encourage both water conservation and the user-pay
philosophy for valuing water resources. It argued in favour of water prices
that would reflect the true costs of supply and treatment and provide
enough revenue to maintain and upgrade infrastructure. It called for universal
metering and realistic rate schedules.(38)
It is up to the decision-makers in local communities and elsewhere to
determine how the value of water should be reflected in prices, subsidies,
free allocations and so on.
Typical Municipal Water Prices(39)
awareness has created a great deal of interest in protecting our water
supply, both surface and underground. To that end, nations are drafting
tougher laws to protect this resource, and even international trade negotiations
are beginning to contemplate restrictions on possible environmental damage.
A large problem with legislation protecting water is the difficulty of
enforcing it over borders. As well, sources or locations of contamination
in other countries are difficult to assess and prosecute.
Canada has a great number
of policies and legislation at all levels of government dealing with the
quality of water. Legislation and policies to protect Canada's liquid
assets include Canadian Water Quality Guidelines, established by Health
and Welfare Canada; the 1987 Federal Water Policy,(40)
Canada's national strategy for managing water resources; the Canadian
Environmental Protection Act (1988); the Green Plan; Drinking Water
Safety Act (1991); and the Fisheries Act.
Legislation of water and
its subsequent contamination by human use is a complicated jurisdictional
issue. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has primary responsibility
for the administration of the Fisheries Act (41)
provisions that provide for the protection and conservation of fish and
fish habitat. Environment Canada has been assigned the responsibility
of enforcement and administration of the Fisheries Act provisions
dealing with the deposit of deleterious substances (section 36(3) of the
Fisheries Act) into water frequented by fish.(42)
The provinces and territories also have jurisdictional power. A joint
and co-operative management approach with the provinces is sought by the
federal government since, under the Constitution Act, the provinces
exercise direct control over many aspects of water management. In view
of the jurisdictional situation in Canada, responsibility for municipal
waste treatment within provincial territory rests mainly with the provincial
governments, who exercise this authority rigorously.(43)
In the municipal area, the federal government role varies:
The national security
of Egypt is in the hands of the eight other African countries in the
Nearly half the world's
land is fed by water basins that cross national borders and well over
200 countries share important rivers and lakes.(46)
Water has become a strategic asset in countries of water dependency. Nearly
40% of the world's people live in river basins shared by countries. India
and Bangladesh both border the Ganges River; Mexico and the United States
share the Colorado River; the Danube is shared by Czechoslovakia and Hungary;
Thailand and Vietnam share the Mekong.(47)
In Africa, 57 river and lake basins are shared by at least two nations.
In the Middle East, however, political landscapes, as well as the economic
future, are being shaped by water shortages.(48)
All told, the politics
of water exhibit far more friction and strife than harmony and teamwork.(49)
Middle East Water Basins
Economic and social stability
depend on an assured water supply, and more nations will begin to perceive
water as an issue of national security.
A substantial portion of
the wastes entering our water come from point sources such as industrial
discharge pipes and municipal sewer outlets,(50)
or indirectly via leachate, or pollutants carried in the atmosphere. Industrial
wastewaters must meet guidelines in provincial and federal legislation,
but it has been reported that as many as 54% of the 170 direct dischargers
in Ontario exceed these monthly pollution limits.(51)
Many industries use municipal sewers and treatment facilities as their
primary (or only) method of wastewater abatement and this often overtakes
municipal treatment facilities. This is one of the most serious problems
facing the municipal water industry.(52)
Municipal bylaws may limit the substances industries can put into the
sewer system, but this is usually to protect the sewage system rather
than to control the release of environmentally harmful materials.(53)
Such disposal poses a serious threat, even if there is a high degree of
municipal sewage treatment. Municipal facilities may not treat toxic industrial
contaminants and it is almost impossible to police sewage discharges.
Municipal water supplies
are also polluted by agricultural runoff, including pesticides and fertilizers,
chemicals used in the urban environment, landfill seepage, leaks spills
and illegal dumping from industrial sources, and overflows from sewage
systems. The main pollutants affecting water quality are suspended solids
(TSS total suspended solids),(54)
organic material (BOD biochemical oxygen demand),(55)
and nutrients.(57) The
most important pollutants from municipal sewage treatment facilities are
those that increase the BOD of the receiving water.
The discharge of sanitary
and industrial wastes to a watercourse affects the receiving system in
a number of ways. Municipal water pollution decreases the aesthetic value
and enjoyment of a water system, while there are numerous health risks
through infection and the transmission of diseases. There is also an effect
on the environment and ecology of the receiving water; the release of
wastes high in organic content reduces the amount of available oxygen,
rendering the water uninhabitable for fish. This effect is measured by
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD). Water pollution control plants (sewage
treatment plants), reduce the negative environmental impact of sanitary,
domestic wastes and most industrial wastewaters.
The escalating cost
of upgrading, maintaining and operating the existing municipal wastewater
treatment infrastructure, expanding it to support residential and
industrial growth, and providing a new infrastructure where it does
not exist is creating a serious problem for Canadian municipalities.(58)
Domestic wastewater contains
high quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, traditional fertilizer
compounds. It has been said that it takes the equivalent of 53 million
barrels of oil worth more than U.S. $1 billion to replace
nutrients yearly discarded in U.S. sewage with fossil fuel-based fertilizers.(59)
The redirection, or second use, of municipal waste would utilize pollutants
as valuable fertilizers. This would defy the traditional linear approach
to wastewater management use, collect, treats thoroughly then return.
The benefits of an alternative use, collect, partially treat, use
again go unrealized.(60)
Most of the wastewater from
municipalities is treated to varying degrees in a sewage plant before
being discharged. The quality of the returning water depends on the level
of treatment. Primary treatment involves the mechanical (physical) removal
of solids by screening and settling; secondary treatment involves the
biological removal of dissolved organics, by, for example, trickling filters,
activated sludge and oxidation ponds; tertiary treatment involves chemical
treatment to remove additional contaminants, such as nutrients, heavy
metals, and inorganic dissolved solids, by precipitation, oxidation, micro-screening,
inverse osmosis and coagulation-sedimentation. The effect on the receiving
water depends on the municipal treatment facility. In 1989, approximately
30% of Canadians were not serviced by sewage treatment, while only 28%
of Canadian's sewage underwent tertiary treatment. The organic compounds
discharged in wastewater are consumed by bacteria in the receiving water.
This causes a depletion of the dissolved oxygen which is essential to
most aquatic life; the term used to quantify the organic concentration
of wastewater is biological oxygen demand (BOD). The higher the treatment,
the lower the wastewater BOD. When only primary treatment is used, the
possibility of contamination by disease-carrying bacteria increases. Regardless
of treatment, a large amount of chlorine and ammonia enter the receiving
1. Primary Treatment
Primary treatment, usually
mechanical, removes the heavier particles, scum and grease from the wastewater.
The quality of effluent(61)
is dependent on the degree and type of contaminants carried by it. Primary
treatment alone usually results in effluent of a lower quality than is
achieved by complete treatment.(62)
Primary treatment may remove 40-60% of the solids.
Wastewater Treatment for Canadians
Source : Environment Canada,
Municipal Water Use Database (MUD), National Inventory of Municipal Waterworks
and Wastewater Systems Database (MUNDAT), in Government of Canada, The
State of Canada's Environment, Chapter 13-12, 1991.
Biological processing is
the most efficient way of removing organic matter from municipal wastewaters.(63)
These systems rely on mixed microbial cultures to decompose and remove
colloidal and dissolved organic substances from solutions. The treatment
chamber holding the microorganisms provides the controlled environment
and the wastewater provides the biological food, growth nutrients and
inoculum of microorganisms.
Activated sludge treatment,
a process that usually follows primary treatment, is a biological process
that produces a high quality effluent. It removes finely divided, suspended
solids and dissolved materials remaining in the wastewater. The high organic
content of municipal wastewaters is oxidized by the microorganisms which
comprise the activated sludge. The organic material is metabolized into
elements of CO2 and H2O. The biological communities of microorganisms
are developed and maintained in aerated tanks and are supplied with oxygen.
The amount of solids removed ranges from 90-95%.
The trickling filter process
is carried out following primary treatment to remove the finely divided,
suspended solids and dissolved materials. The filter is constructed of
a bed of crushed rock or other supporting material which provides a large
surface area for the development and growth of colonies of microorganisms.
Aerobic bacteria build up on the support media and oxidize the organic
materials in the wastewater as it is fed through it. A specially constructed
underdrain tile system supports the filter media and carries off the effluent.
High rate trickling filters are used in treating certain types of industrial
wastes. Recirculation provides improved biological treatment.
d. Waste Stabilization
Waste stabilization ponds
make use of a natural purification process achieved by microorganisms
in the soil and water. This process is being widely studied with the growing
knowledge of the advantages and efficiency of these natural systems for
reducing our waste's impact on the environment. This methodology is termed
a stabilization pond, loading, depth, soil conditions and liquid losses
are all controlled, together with wind action, sunlight, algae growth
and oxygen. These factors provide the environment necessary for the development
of the aerobic bacterial action and photosynthetic oxidation required
to stabilize the wastes. In the process, microorganisms convert much of
the carbon content into carbon dioxide, which, together with the dissolved
nutrient and sunlight, provides conditions of growth for algae, which
in turn provide a plentiful supply of oxygen for the microorganisms.
Interest in anaerobic biotechnology
for industrial wastewater treatment has greatly increased during the past
decade. Today, anaerobic processes are recognized as feasible treatment
for many high strength industrial wastewaters.(65)
Anaerobic digestion consists of two successive processes that take place
simultaneously in digesting sludge. The first stage consists of breaking
down large organic compounds and converting them to organic acids along
with gaseous by-products of carbon dioxide, methane and traces of hydrogen
sulphide. Facultative bacteria carry out this function in a anaerobic
environment to produce high concentrations of acids, so that digestion
can occur. Second stage gasification converts the organic acids to methane
and carbon dioxide.
3. Tertiary Treatment
Tertiary treatment removes
the remaining carbon content and is also used for more recalcitrant compounds
found in some wastewaters.
Purification of Drinking Water
In addition to treating
wastewater, municipalities must also treat the water drawn from the main
sources as drinking water. Conventional water purification includes chlorination,
coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation and waste filtration stages.
Initially these methods were thought to be adequate; today, however, there
is some question as to whether the increasing concentration of toxins
in the source water are being dealt with and whether these methods are
effective against viruses and protozoa. Long-term exposure to chlorine
and fluoride is also being studied. Studies indicate the formation of
trihalomethanes following the addition of chlorine to water and suggest
that water purification processes can have harmful effects. Other water
disinfection specialists continue to claim that, considering our present
knowledge, chlorine is the safest disinfectant for health.(66)
Historically, we have
approached nature's water systems with a frontier philosophy, manipulating
the water cycle to whatever degree engineering know-how would permit.
Now, instead of continuously reaching out for more, we must begin
to look within within our regions, our communities, our homes,
ourselves for ways to meet our needs while respecting water's
All signals point to a deterioration
in the quality of fresh and marine waters unless aggressive management
programs are put in place. Continued growth in global population, together
with socio-economic changes, will put an increasing pressure on policy-makers
and the public to find viable and realistic water strategies to deal with
the following issues:
Water management principles
have evolved and are quite well-researched; now the need for an integrated
approach has become apparent. Such an approach calls for the co-operation
of all levels of government and non-governmental interests. Water supplies
and water sanitation must be handled within an overall water management
scheme directed at conservation and increasing the efficiency of water
consumption rather than at increasing the supply of water.
Possible Advantages and Disadvantages of Processes
Used in the Purification of Drinking Water
disinfection. Presence of residual chlorine in water distribution
systems. Oxidation of ammonium NH4 + (toxic) into nitrogen N2.
of haloforms and other organochlorine compounds. Leads to difficulties
in biological treatment.
power. Inactivates viruses. Improves flocculation and biological
residual to prevent the growth of bacteria in water distribution
colloidal solids from water.
the problems of corrosion due to the removal of inhibiting substances
and the increase in salts.
taste and odour and removes hazardous organic products.
products inhibiting corrosion.
in removing viruses, bacteria and organic products.
concentrations of iron and manganese.
Source : W. Kühn and H.
Sontheirmer, "Treatment: Improvement or Deterioration of Water Quality,"
The Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 18, April 1981,
Water management must effect
changes in demand, not supply. This approach is necessary as untapped
sources of water are becoming rarer, and the depletion and contamination
of groundwater sources are further limiting supplies. The environmental
concerns about increased use of water have intensified during the last
two decades to the point where development of new supplies is politically
infeasible, and the prospects for financing major construction programs
The use of demand-management alternatives represents an important change
in water supply planning. Demand-reduction programs can balance future
supply and demand at a cost that is below the economic, social, and environmental
costs of new supply development.(70)
Most of the provinces have
adopted some strategies in water conservation and water efficiency.
#Doing more with less
is the first and easiest step along the path toward water security.
By using water more efficiently, we in effect create a new source
Estimates suggest that by
the year 2011 water use in Canadian municipalities will be twice that
of today, if growth and consumption patterns remain the same. In purely
economic terms, the case for municipal water conservation is strong. Traditionally,
municipalities have taken a supply management approach to the growing
demand for clean water, but such an approach costs money. As our finite
resources of which water is one decline, we must learn to
treat them with a great deal of respect. We must also learn to view water
as a cycle; the less we use, the less needs to be treated in a wastewater
facility and thus the lower the cost. This issue must be addressed at
all levels of government in order to lessen the demand and reduce the
call for an increased supply. National standards are essential and they
must be enforced at the provincial level, with a user-pay, full-cost-recovery
The United States has the largest per capita consumption of water in the
Environment Canada, The State of Canada's Environment, Ottawa,
Chapter 3:1, 1991.
Approximately 97% of the 1.5 x 109km3 water estimated to be on earth is
liquid salt water in the oceans and seas. Of the 3% of fresh water, approximately
75% exists in solid form in the polar ice caps and in the glaciers. At
least 90% of the less than 1% remaining is groundwater, and the remainder
is fresh surface water, mainly in lakes and rivers.
Peter Pearse and Donald Tate, "Economic Instruments for Sustainable
Development of Water Resources," in Perspectives on Sustainable
Development in Water Management: Towards Agreement in the Fraser River
Basin, Anthony Dorcey, ed., Westwater Research Centre, 1991, p. 431.
Postel Sandra, Last Oasis, Linda Starke Series Editor, W.W. Norton
and Co., New York, 1992, p. 22.
Jan Lundqvist, "Water Scarcity in Abundance: Management and Policy
Challenges," Ecodecision, September 1992, p. 41-43.
J.W. Maurits la Riviere, "Threats to the World's Water," Scientific
American, September 1989, p. 80-84.
Environment Canada, Conservation and Protection, Fact Sheet 4: Water
Maurits la Riviere (1989), p. 80-84.
Ibid., p. 82.
Postel, Last Oasis (1992), p. 23.
Ibid., p. 28.
Hydrologists designate water-scarce countries as those with annual supplies
of less than 1,000 m3 per person; today, 26 countries (232 million
people) fall into this category.
Postel, Last Oasis (1992), p. 40.
Sandra Postel, Water Scarcity, Environment, Science and Technology,
Vol. 26, No. 12, p. 2332, 1992.
There are 36,000 large dams around the world to control floods, provide
hydroelectric power, irrigation, industrial and municipal or consumptive
Donald M. Tate, Technological Change and the Water Industry: Some Observations,
1991 Canadian Water Resources Association Meeting.
J.W. MacLaren, Municipal Waterworks and Wastewater Systems, Inquiry
on the Federal Water Policy, January 1985.
Water consumption is the difference between the amount of water taken
for withdrawal use and the amount of water returned.
Environment Canada, Conservation and Protection, Fact Sheet 4: Water
Environment Canada, Conservation and Protection, Fact Sheet 4: Water
Declaration of Alma-Alta (1978) arose out of the efforts made at the 1978
Conference on Primary Health Care held in Alma-Alta, USSR to achieve primary
health care for all.
Steve Bonk, "Emerging Considerations for Safe Drinking Water in Canada,"
Canadian Society for Civil Engineering Environmental Engineering
In 1968, Health and Welfare Canada undertook primary responsibility for
producing Canada's first national water quality document. In 1986, a Federal-Provincial
Sub-Committee on Drinking Water was created to revise and update the document,
now named Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. These
Guidelines were updated and revised in 1989.
Environment Canada, Conservation and Protection, Fact Sheet 3: Clean
Water Life Depends on It!, 1990.
The quality of water can be analyzed by sophisticated analytical laboratory
equipment, which can detect contaminants to parts per billion.
Ruth Teichroeb, "Raise Water Prices to Float Repairs, Charest Says,"
Winnipeg Free Press, 7 February 1993.
Water rate schedules cover water use as well as sewer charges.
D.M. Tate, Municipal Water Rates in Canada, 1986 Current Practices
and Prices, Social Science Series No. 21, Inland Waters Directorate
Water Planning and Management Branch, Ottawa, Ontario, 1989, p. v.
D.M. Tate, "Water Demand Management and Sustainable Development,"
Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists, Newsletter/Bulletin,
Vol. 48(3), 1991, p. 15.
D.M. Tate, "Municipal Water Rates in Canada, 1986 Current
Practices and Prices" (1989).
For a detailed approach to rate setting, please see, "A New Approach
to Rate Setting: Municipal Water and Wastewater Rate Manual," Canadian
Water and Wastewater Association and Rawson Academy of Aquatic Science
in Association with Environment Canada, January 1993.
Tate (1991), p. 4.
Two-thirds of Canadian water use is accounted for by agriculture.
Government of Canada, The State of Canada's Environment, 1991,
"The Conservation Retrofit will Save Taxpayers $400,000 at a Cost
of $250,000," Government Business, December 1992, p. 25.
Environment Canada, Conservation and Protection, Fact Sheet 4: Water
The Federal Water Policy is a statement of the federal government's philosophy
and goals for the nation's freshwater resources and proposed ways of achieving
them. It recognizes that water is Canada's most undervalued and neglected
natural resource. In no part of Canada is freshwater of sufficient quality
and quantity that it can continue to be overused and abused. The underlying
philosophy of the policy is that Canadians must start viewing water both
as a key to environmental health and as a scarce commodity with real value
that must be managed accordingly.
Under the Constitution Act, the federal government has exclusive
legislative authority to manage and regulate Canada's sea coast and inland
fisheries. The Fisheries Act, first passed in Parliament in 1886,
is the federal statute promulgated pursuant to this constitutional authority.
See Department of Fisheries and Oceans, "Fisheries Act Habitat
Protection and Pollution Prevention Provisions Compliance Policy,"
Draft, April 1992.
A municipality with inadequately treated municipal wastes may be in violation
of the federal Fisheries Act. Since Environment Canada has administrative
responsibility for section 33 of the Act (prohibition of deleterious substances),
enforcement officers could charge such a municipality. D. Tate, "The
Federal Policy with Regard to Municipal Infrastructure and Effluent: Notes
Towards an Updated Strategy (III)," Draft, 1992.
Boutros Boutros-Gali, Address before the United Congress, 1989.
Bronwen Maddox, "World's Fresh Water Tap in Peril," Financial
Post, 19 March 1993.
Postel, Last Oasis (1992), p. 74.
Government of Canada, The State of Canada's Environment, Chapter
Tate (1992), p. 1.
Total suspended solids (TSS): This measure indicates the amount of "particulate
matter" in water. Particulate matter is produced by food processing
plants, pulp and paper plants, ore processing industries, domestic sewage,
erosion silts and soils, and airborne particles. It is fine enough to
be carried by water and may be deposited in rivers, lakes or streambeds
and thus upset aquatic habitats. Toxic compounds may also adhere to the
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD): Effluents containing high levels of organic
wastes are common to sewage treatment facilities, pulp and paper mills
and food processing plants. BOD is a common measure of the oxygen-depleting
potential of these organic contaminants. This figure relates to the amount
of oxygen being used by microorganisms in the process of breaking down
organic contaminants; the higher the organic content of the effluent,
the more oxygen is used. When the rate of consumption is excessive, the
available oxygen in the water system is depleted and affects fish and
other aquatic life. Chemical oxygen demand (COD) is a related measure
that refers to the amount of oxygen used by some inorganic compounds in
the same process.
Toxic contaminants: There are two types of toxic compounds, non-persistent
materials and persistent materials. Non-persistent materials are those
that readily break down into less harmless (oil, grease, ammonia, sulphur
compounds) by-products. Persistent compounds are highly persistent and
readily absorbed by living tissue (bioaccumulate, bioconcentrate). These
compounds consist of the heavy metals: chlorinated organic compounds,
such as PCBs, dioxins, furans; and hydrocarbons, such as polyaromatic
Nutrients: Nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium are required for
aquatic systems. Excessive quantities of these nutrients from municipal
sewage and agricultural runoff stimulate growth of aquatic plants; this
process is called eutrophication. Eutrophication stimulates growth of
algae, which in turn die and deplete the oxygen content of the water when
they decompose and thus lead to the death of fish and other aquatic life.
B.E. Jank, Introduction, What's New in Wastewater Technology, The
Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, 1988, p. 1.
Postel, Last Oasis (1992), p. 127.
Ibid., p. 128.
Effluent is the water discharged into a receiving body.
Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Introduction to Popular Treatment
Methods for Municipal Waste and Water Supplies, Process Descriptions and
Flow Diagrams, Toronto, Ontario, 1975.
Mark J. Hammer, Water and Wastewater Technology, Second Edition,
John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1986, p. 89.
Bioremediation is the use of a natural system or living organisms to remove
the polluting components of waste streams. Bioremediation is used in the
treatment of municipal and industrial wastewaters to remove organic materials
and other dissolved compounds. It is widely used in treated contaminated
soils. It is highly efficient and may reduce the costs of pollution mitigation.
Daniel Zitomer and Richard Speece, "Sequential Environments for Enhanced
Biotransformation of Aqueous Contaminants," Environment, Science
and Technology Review, Vol. 27, No. 2, 1993, p. 227.
As of July 1992, the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton began using
chloramines instead of chlorine in its water purification plants. These
chloramines are a combination of chlorine and a small amount of ammonia.
Postel, Last Oasis (1992), p. 23.
Lundqvist (1992), p. 41.
Benedykt Dziegielewski and Duane D. Baumann, "The Benefits of Managing
Urban Water Demands," Environment, Vol. 34, No. 9,
November 1992, p. 7.
Ibid., p. 23.