Posted on November 12, 2015

Extraordinary progress in the past decade has brought 1.6 per cent of the world’s ocean to a category of “strongly protected,” researchers say in a new analysis, but the accomplishments are still far behind those that have been achieved on land – and those that are urgently needed.

Posted on June 05, 2015

On the afternoon of February 10, 2015 a whale watching boat docked at Port McNeill, BC, packed with 48 Malcolm Islanders from the small village of Sointula.

Posted on March 06, 2015

Water footprintI have a confession: I knocked back 320 pints at the pub last night. I actually only had two shots of a decent single malt but it took 320 pints of water to grow and process the grain used to make the whisky. That’s a whole lot of water considering the average bathtub holds 60 to 80 litres.

Posted on December 29, 2014

Hague - Gunflint Community WatershedA lake is not a thing; it is a process. A lake is a dynamic living system, a flow of energy and nutrients, a home for its inhabitants, always evolving, forever shifting moods.

Posted on December 29, 2014

drinking fountainIn March, the beleaguered – some would say besieged – city of Detroit, Michigan announced it would begin shutting off water services to between 1,500 and 3,000 households every week. It seemed impossible at the time, but officials quickly made good on the promise – at least 27,000 households have had their water services disconnected in 2014.

Posted on May 28, 2014

Let them drink benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene.Everywhere that the oil and natural gas industry is fracking – using high pressure blasts of fluid, sand, and chemicals pumped underground to extract the remnants of gas and oil from layers of shale, coal, or sand formations  – public concern and protests follow. In some regions, the citizens have had moderate success in restricting the technology. France and Luxembourg have banned the practise.

Posted on March 11, 2014

Over the last 25 years, corporations have been the driving force behind global, regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements that favour their interests by limiting the ability of signatory countries to set conditions on global trade and investment. The goal of free trade agreements is the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to the free movement of goods and services.

Posted on February 10, 2014

Logging next to a watershed at Comox Lake.Watershed Conference, Polis Project, February 2, 2014: It was the busiest, most intense four days I have had in a very long time. We had speakers over our short lunch breaks, we had panels of speakers,  we had workshops to choose from, and we had so many discussions with the 150 like-minded individuals who were present.

Posted on June 03, 2013

The Peace River Valley in northeastern BC is under serious threat due to the proposed mega-Site C dam.  Promoters of this project neglect to consider the long-term consequences that would result from it. With global warming eradicating traditional food-producing land and with ecosystem fragmentation, particularly in northeastern BC, it is evident that a project of this magnitude must not be allowed to proceed.

Posted on May 01, 2013

Please find below a letter from Minister Fantino in response to the article published for the Watershed Sentinel by Miranda Holmes.

Contrary to the disingenuous and misleading insinuations made by Miranda Holmes, let there be no doubt that bringing

Posted on May 01, 2013

by Miranda Holmes

March 22 is World Water Day, established by the UN as a day to contemplate the importance of access to water for life on earth. Just like every other day of the year., on World Water Day, nearly 2000 children around the world will die from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

It is almost impossible to overstate the difference access to clean water can make to an impoverished community.

Posted on October 15, 2012

Life is at its most abundant where land and water meet, whether the water is salty or fresh.

Story and photos by Maggie Paquet

Two ecosystem types are among Earth's most important and most abused: estuaries and wetlands.

Posted on October 14, 2012

Keep an eye open when you cross the Strait ... that might be the Fraser River Plume you're looking at.

by Paul LeBlond

Islands are defined by the waters that surround them. In our case, it's the Strait of Georgia and the channels that connect it to the ocean, from Puget Sound in the south, to Queen Charlotte Strait in the north, a coastal realm often called the Salish Sea.

Posted on October 14, 2012

It's been a long, hard struggle, and it's far from over ... but efforts to restore BC's top oyster producing area to health are finally starting to pay off.

by J. Cates

The Rave is passe. The Septic Social is way cooler, at least in the Baynes Sound area of the British Columbia coast.

Posted on October 13, 2012

The only smell from this sewage treatment is that of water within a greenhouse and the fragrance of flowering plants.

by Ryan Durand

The sound of running water fills the air, its bubbling and gurgling permeating the otherwise quiet surroundings. Brilliant green water hyacinths gently rock in the wake of the flowing water, and a thick mat of duckweed moves in the slow circles of the currents' eddies.

Posted on October 13, 2012

Sooner or later, the demand for clean water always exceeds the supply, but in rural areas, steps can be taken to take the strain off overburdened systems.

by Patrick Walshe

Dry well? Bad water? Is there a potential source of contamination affecting your well?

Water quantity and quality is becoming a major issue as development threatens to outstrip rural water supply in some districts and often reduces the existing water quality at the same time.

Posted on October 13, 2012

Thirty years of organizing still hasn't protected the forests or the drinking water.

by Delores Broten

Entering the Slocan Valley in British Columbia's west Kootenays, after the drive along the "progressive clearcuts" and trashed and haltered lakes of the Arrow Lakes hydroelectric system, is like entering a magic corridor. Spectacular scenery and the large, clean, unmolested lake, bordered by numerous camp grounds, makes the valley corridor seem like a refuge. Halfway down the Valley, the signs of clearcuts on the west side are replaced by the deep green of Valhalla Wilderness Park.

Posted on October 09, 2012

There is enough water for everyone, and now a solution to fair distribution.

by Robert Blakeney

Robert Blakeney is a BC water and sanitation Engineer who has participated in relief missions with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in South Sudan and East Timor

Water, the "source of life," has shaped the world's ecosystem, established our political boundaries, and has resulted in the rise and fall of civilizations.

Posted on October 08, 2012

The 85th of 90 Primary Watersheds on Vancouver Island is targeted for industrial logging.

by Jody MacKenzie, Sierra Club of BC

They say that when you fly over northern Vancouver Island after a heavy rainstorm, only two rivers run clear into the ocean -- East Creek and the Klaskish River, both near the Brooks Peninsula. They are also the last two wild Chinook runs on the North Island, which is why Fisheries and Oceans Canada uses them as bellwether streams for determining Chinook trends for western Vancouver Island.

Posted on September 25, 2012

The global water crisis is the greatest ecologi­cal and human threat humanity has ever faced.…By 2030, global demand for water will exceed supply by 40% – an astounding figure foretelling of terrible suffering.

Excerpts from a speech by Maude Barlow to the Environmental Grantmakers Association

Posted on September 14, 2012

by Maggie Paquet

Water. It’s a simple molecule, but an extremely complex subject. It is the source of life and can be a reservoir of disease. Civilisations are built on it and whole cultures have died out from lack of it. With more than six billion people now living on our planet (1.1 billion without safe drinking water and 2.4 billion without access to adequate sanitation), water is a major concern world-wide. So much so that over 24,000 participants from 182 countries went to Japan in March to attend the eight-day 3rd World Water Forum (www.world.water-forum3.com).

Posted on September 14, 2012

The 2003 Georgia Basin/ Puget Sound Research Conference was held in Vancouver, where scientists and decision makers, First Nations and tribes, community interest groups, students, members of the general public, the Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team, the partner agencies of the Georgia Basin Ecosystem Initiative (GBEI), and co-sponsors in Canada and the United States got together for a top-quality international conference to communicate research findings of importance to help ensure the sustainability of the Georgia Basin/Puget Sound ecosystem.

by Martin Fournier

The Georgia Basin/ Puget Sound area is a bioregion encompassing about half of Vancouver Island and most of its gulf islands, Vancouver and most of the Lower Mainland, the Seattle area and Puget Sound and most of its islands.

Posted on August 30, 2012

by Maggie Paquet

All living things produce waste products. That includes us, of course. How we handle this waste can have significant impacts on our shared environments, whether on land, in the sea (and rivers and lakes), or even in the air. Mostly how we handle it involves using water. 

Water is one of the most precious— and abused—resources on the planet. Protecting and conserving water resources is an issue of great public concern. Previously, WS featured composting toilets as one of the tools for conserving water. Let’s face it, in our society, flushing and forgetting is one of the most rampant abuses of water we do. In this issue, we’re focusing on wastewater treatment systems. 

Posted on August 24, 2012

In South Africa, only the poor have pre-paid water meters — and the poor are fighting back.

Story and photos by Dawn Paley, Johannesburg

Another dusty day in Orange Farm, red earth split in cracks, long dry dirt roads lead to the freeway that leads to the city.

Posted on August 23, 2012

by Don Waye

This simple test operates under the same principle that makes partygoers’ clothing glow brightly under a black light. Special optical brightener dyes that are added to the vast majority of laundry detergents sold in North America (look for the words “brightening agent” or “whitener” in the fine print on your detergent container) are adsorbed onto natural fibres like cotton, causing them to appear whiter under

Posted on August 22, 2012

Community discussions regarding local groundwater supplies can often be complicated by conflicting claims about the nature of groundwater and how human activities may or may not affect groundwater supplies. This is not surprising. None of us can see the underground groundwater system. What we know about groundwater comes by observation of wells and

Posted on August 17, 2012

by Oliver M. Brandes and Ellen Reynolds

Despite being one of the few relatively water rich nations of the world, Canada’s freshwater resources are under threat from many sides. Pollution, wasteful habits, poor management, increasing urbanization and the looming spectre of climate change conspire to create scarcity. 

Posted on August 14, 2012

by Emily Arnold, Earth Policy Institute © 2006

Global consumption of bottled water reached 154 billion litres (41 billion US gallons) in 2004, up 57 percent from the 98 billion litres consumed fi ve years earlier. Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing— producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy. Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times more. At as much as $2.50 per litre ($10 per gallon), bottled water costs more than gasoline. The United States is the world’s leading consumer of bottled water, with Americans drinking 26 billion litres in 2004, or approximately one 8- ounce glass per person every day. Mexico has the second highest consumption, at 18 billion litres.

Posted on August 14, 2012

by Matthew Kemshaw 

In Canada, water is a non-issue. It is “abundant,” “renewable,” “fresh,” and flows preternaturally through our pipes: liquid life at almost no cost. It comes to most Canadians with such great flowing ease it almost seems as though nothing could ever interrupt its soothing, pure trickle. Water comes from the tap, and many of us are confident that it always will.  Liquid will always flow to our homes, but water certainly does not come from the tap. 

It comes from nature. From the land upon which

Posted on August 08, 2012

A Watershed Sentinel Comox Valley report by Delores Broten

Photo of Riki OttOn a hot Friday evening in August, a packed audience at the Native Sons Hall in Courtenay BC listened spell bound and sometimes close to tears to marine toxicologist Dr. Riki Ott. In an event sponsored by World Community, Ott was describing the long term impacts to fish, mammals, and humans from the Exxon Valdez, Deepwater Gulf, and Kalamazoo River oil spills.

Ott, who was a commercial fisher in Cordova Alaska as well as a trained scientist, was in a unique position when Prince William Sound was hit by the Exxon Valdez oil spill 23 years ago. She described how the response to the spill was nothing like what had been promised by the oil companies before the port was opened.

She talked about how any spill response actually collects, at the most, 15% of the spilled oil, which

Posted on July 07, 2012

BC Liberal government plans to sell the province's water under the new Water Act.

by Don Malcolm 

Not so long ago, would anyone have thought that water would become a commodity, to be bought and sold on world markets? 

For those of us who have crossed and re-crossed the oceans of the world, it may seem to many that our world carries a staggering load of water. There is a lot of water, but only three per cent of the world’s water is fresh and available to quench the thirst of the Earth’s peoples, and wild creatures, and irrigate the crops and plants that sustain all of Earth’s peoples and creatures. 

Posted on July 06, 2012

The Keepers of the Water gather to find an end to the ecological threats against the water and land that sustains them.

by Dawn Paley

Fish that had once been healthy are turning up diseased and deformed. Water that had once been clean to drink is making people and animals sick.

Posted on January 12, 2012

Goldman Sachs, General Electric, and the World Resources Institute (WRI) form a partnership - the Aqueduct Alliance - with a new strategy to increase profit: water privatization.

by Joyce Nelson

Investment banker Goldman Sachs has famously been described by the Rolling Stone's business writer Matt

Posted on March 31, 2010

Jessica Ernst goes public after her well water is contaminated by nearby fracking, and speaks of the problems caused by energy companies such as EnCana.

by Joyce Nelson

In our phone interview, Jessica Ernst says she's "still getting used to" being compared to Erin Brockovich (the environmental activist made famous by Julia Robert's film portrayal ten years ago). The comparison comes easy because the outspoken Ernst, a landowner in the town of Rosebud, Alberta, is one of the few Albertans who have publicly criticized hydraulic fracturing (called "fracking," in the trade).

This is a technology used by the oil and gas industry to access "unconventional" natural gas deposits trapped