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Posts from — August 2012

Great Lakes Mayors Commit to Sustainable Municipal Water Management

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative released the report Sustainable Municipal Water Management: Measuring Progress and Reporting Publicly during the organization’s ninth annual meeting and conference held in in Québec City, June 26-28th, 2012.  Mayors of the Cities Initiative made a commitment to working towards achieving  sustainable municipal water management practices. 

In the face of the cumulative impacts associated with urbanization, intensive agricultural activity, and climate change, municipalities are increasingly embracing an integrated approach to water management that captures the full spectrum of a community’s impact on water. This approach cuts across traditional municipal delivery areas, to include infrastructure design and operations, land use planning and approvals, public education and participation, emergency planning and response, pollution prevention, and habitat and shoreline restoration.

This shift in water management, from a narrower operational focus on water service delivery and wastewater treatment, to a broader notion of ‘sustainable water management’ marks a change that is already taking place within Cities Initiative member municipalities, and one that will take time to fully adopt, involving continuous improvement, innovation and evaluation.

The Declaration on Sustainable Municipal Water Management adopted by the Cities Initiative membership reflects this broader responsibility for protecting our water resources. Organized around six principles, the declaration sets out a series of indicators that may be used by a municipality to evaluate and report publicly on its progress towards:

  1. Water conservation and efficiency
  2. Water preparedness for climate change
  3. Water protection planning
  4. Water pollution prevention
  5. Shorelines and waterways restoration
  6. Shared water stewardship

More information on the Report, including member cities, and the Cities Initiative’s Green Cities Transforming Towards Sustainability program visit: www.glslcities.org/initiatives/greencities/smwm.cfm

 

August 13, 2012   Comments Off

A Citizen Call from the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River Basin

Written by the International Secretariat for Water.

Citizen Engagement: From Solitudes to Rallying

Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River and Gulf Symphony

The Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River and Gulf Symphony is an attempt to make everyone realize that all life on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and Gulf watershed hinges on interdependent relationships. On June 26 and 27, 2012, 40 participants from all over the basin –  from Chicago, to Îles de la Madeleine, Lake Champlain and the lower North Shore – came to Quebec for the first citizens’ meeting organized by the International Secretariat for Water (ISW) and its partners.  

During the work seminary – the preparations for which spanned a year and a half – participants devised common guidelines, identified conditions for improved citizen participation within integrated water resource management, and created the Citizen Engagement “From Solitudes to Rallying.”

On June 28, 2012, two representatives from the ISW and the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), and a representative from the North America Network of Basin Organizations (NANBO) were invited to present their preliminary findings to the Mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, at the Annual Meeting and Conference in Quebec City.

Following that, the Engagement and an action plan proposal will be presented to other government bodies and interest groups.

Background

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence territory is a freshwater and saltwater basin containing 20% of the planet’s renewable freshwater reserves, of which only 1% is renewed every year. Many interdependent hydrological relationships are at play between ground water and water from the lakes, rivers, and Atlantic Ocean. 

The First Nations were the first to live in the basin; as a result, they developed a strong relationship with water, through which they acquired inspiring knowledge and know-how.

Today, over 50 million people live in the basin, all of whose quality of life depends on its water resources. Although the population is primarily concentrated on the shores, the hydrographical territory extends hundreds of kilometres away from them. 

Spread over 3000 kilometres, 6 Canadian provinces and 10 American states, the basin houses a patchwork of multifarious jurisdictions and governance mechanisms. It is a hub for the North American economy because of its vital importance for transport, commerce and communications.

Read more…

August 8, 2012   Comments Off