Does Canada have what it takes to become a global water leader?

If the answer is yes, what do we do next?

Water is critical to our global and local economies. Now is the time for Canada to build on its water strengths, and capitalize on opportunities to deliver innovative solutions to global water issues.

The Blue Economy Initiative released the paper, Canada as the Water Solutions Country: Defining the Opportunitiesduring Canadian Water Network’s national conference Connecting Water Resources 2013: Changing the Water Paradigm in Ottawa today.  A key theme explored Canada’s role in building a global “blue economy”.

Global spending to address water needs is expected to reach US$1 trillion per year by 2020, double what is being spent today, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Canada itself is a significant growth market for water solutions. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates it will cost approximately $80 billion to replace drinking water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure reported to be in ‘fair’ or ‘very poor’ condition in Canada.

The paper frames a national conversation around the opportunities and benefits of Canada’s potential to become a global leader in water innovation and sustainability.

Author David Crane notes there are good reasons to believe Canada can become a successful “water solutions” provider.  “If we combine our research strengths, our experience with water challenges, our best water management systems, our skilled workers, and our Canadian water companies that deliver water-related goods and services, Canada’s water potential is truly promising”, he said.

The paper highlights the global water context, outlines some of Canada’s water strengths, as well as gaps, and ends with identifying potential next steps.

This is the second in a series of Blue Economy Initiative publications. The first report, Running Through Our Fingers, prepared by Steven Renzetti, Diane Dupont, and Chris Wood, looked at Canada’s inability to adequately measure and account for the value of water to Canada’s economy.

BEI will be exploring two additional “opportunities areas” in 2013, focusing first on the value of water in agriculture and food production, then highlighting a vision for a sustainable water infrastructure “city of the near future”.