A series of water crises across the country has put the spotlight on how water treatment plants operate.
Here’s a look at what is at stake in this week’s federal budget.
Canada’s $1.6 billion budget crisis: Canada’s budget crisis began last October when the federal government cut $1 billion from the country’s water program.
In the following months, the federal and provincial governments were forced to slash spending in the water sector, and the provinces have been unable to make up the lost revenue.
The budget crisis has put Canada’s aquifers under pressure, and has led to an unprecedented water shortage.
In fact, according to a report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the government spent $5.3 billion on water programs in the last fiscal year.
According to the report, water conservation measures and conservation projects, such as aquifer restoration, water purifiers and water treatment systems, have saved more than $1,100 million since the last budget.
However, the Canadian Center for Policy Action, an environmental group, said the $5 billion figure is misleading.
“We can only say that that figure is a projection based on data from the last year,” said the group’s president, Ben Haines.
“The real cost of water is the billions that are not being spent to reduce the cost of accessing it.”
The centre says the water crisis is a result of a lack of confidence in the province and federal governments, as well as in the federal level of government.
“In a democracy, there are things we can do,” Haine said.
“And when governments do not respond to their responsibilities, people feel they have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.”
Hainestes said that while the government has put in place some water conservation programs, such an aquifer treatment plant in Saskatchewan was never built, and only one other aquifer in Canada is currently operating.
The centre points out that, unlike the rest of Canada, Saskatchewan has not yet been hit by a water crisis, and there are no other water crises in the country.
The group says the government should have spent $2 billion on a water plant in British Columbia, instead of only $700 million.
“It is not enough to just have one water plant,” Hains said.
Hainens also called on the federal Liberal government to build an aquifery to treat the water in Prince Edward Island, instead the province has decided to shut down their water purifying plant in Prince Rupert, B.C. Hains also said that, in his opinion, the Trudeau government should consider opening up water treatment facilities to allow other provinces to open up theirs.
“That would be a good move,” he said.
Canada needs to diversify its water sources.
Canada has a long history of water scarcity.
“There’s a lot of water on the surface that is not accessible,” Hilderys said.
Water resources management is one of the most important parts of the Canadian economy, he said, adding that the government needs to do more to diversified its water resources.
“If we can’t make a real commitment to diversification in the future, we can have a problem.”
The province of Saskatchewan is currently looking at building a new aquifer system, and is seeking funding for the project.
The Canadian Association of Municipal Water Agencies says there is no shortage of water in Canada, but that there is a problem with the water distribution system, especially when it comes to the aquifering systems in the provinces.
“Saskatchewan is already at the extreme end of the scale of water resources, and that’s not sustainable,” the association’s president and CEO, Steve Jentleson, told the CBC.
“Water needs to be distributed in a way that’s as close to as accessible as possible.”
Hilders said the government can do more with its water program to diversifies its water resource.
“One of the problems is the province of Manitoba, which has a large amount of water that is already being used,” he noted.
“What that means is that there’s no incentive for people to be more efficient.”
He said that when it came to water, the provinces are working together to find solutions.
“So it’s really not that hard to see where they’re coming from,” Hainerys said of the province.
“I think the federal Liberals have shown a willingness to work together with the provinces.”
In his opinion the provincial government should be investing more in water conservation projects in the area, such a river dam and river restoration.
“To me, it’s not about how much money you spend, it should be about how you use the money,” he added.
“You could invest billions and billions of dollars in water resources and not be able to have a balanced system.”
Water conservation and water purifier technology is expensive.
Water purification is one the most cost-effective