To ensure that water resources in the local watershed are protected and enhanced through the engagement of various stakeholders.

Why it matters

Canada is home to roughly 7% of the globe's renewable freshwater, making it the third-largest water supply in the world. The City of Thunder Bay is situated on the shore of the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. Many Canadians believe that our freshwater resources are boundless, but in reality only a small proportion of our water is renewable and easily accessed. While we take water for granted in Canada, high population growth, rising consumption, pollution, and poor water management pose significant threats to the global water supply. Coupled with climate change, the results will be disastrous in some areas. Experts have identified 46 countries -- home to 2.7 billion people -- where climate change and water-related crises will create a high risk of violent conflict. Humanitarian organizations including the United Nations have declared that water should be protected as a human right. Advocates of water governance stress the need for policies that protect the health of the planet, thereby protecting our water rights.

Another emerging issue of concern is contamination of water from pharmaceuticals and personal care products, as well as stormwater runoff. Current municipal wastewater technologies have limited and unknown abilities to remove the dissolved contaminants that may be contained in the waste stream. Rainwater that falls on impervious surfaces like roads, parking lots, houses, and buildings is directed into storm sewers and carried to the lake. This water is removed from the natural ecosystem, potentially impacting biodiversity and the health of the ecosystem. Many of Thunder Bay's citizens rely on groundwater sources for drinking water. Swimming and other non-consumptive recreational uses of water such as canoeing and kayaking are very popular and also deserve special attention. The local community has an important role in protecting, conserving, and enhancing our local waterways and water supply.


  • By 2020, integrated approaches to improve the management of water, wastewater, and stormwater based on best practices are supported.
  • By 2020, water conservation, stewardship and water management practices for healthy watersheds are promoted to the community.
  • Adaptation and readiness plans are promoted to mitigate potential environmental impact due to climate.
  • Partnerships with various stakeholders have been developed to address existing and emerging water issues.

Recommended Actions from the EarthCare Sustainability Plan: Water



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