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Policies and Principles

These policies and principles were established by CWRA members through consultation with all provincial CWRA branches. They were included in the Water News, June 1994 as a special technical bureau supplement. CWRA promotes using these principles for all water in Canada and throughout the world.

Sustainability Principles for Water Management in Canada:
A Policy of the Canadian Water Resources Association

Sustainability Ethic

Wise management of water resources must be achieved by a genuine commitment to:

  • ecological integrity and biological diversity to ensure a healthy environment;
  • a dynamic economy;
  • and social equity for present and future generations.

Water Management Principles

Accepting this Sustainability Ethic, we will:

1.  Practice integrated water resource management by:

  • linking water quality, quantity and the management of other resources;
  • recognizing hydrological, ecological, social and institutional systems; and
  • recognizing the importance of watershed and aquifer boundaries

2.  Encourage water conservation and the protection of water quality by:

  • recognizing the value and limits of water resources and the cost of providing it in adequate quantity and quality;
  • acknowledging its consumptive and non-consumptive values to both humans and other species; and
  • balancing education, market forces, and regulatory systems to promote choice and recognition of the responsibility of beneficiaries to pay for use of the resource.

3.  Resolve water management issues by:

  • employing planning, monitoring and research;
  • providing multidisciplinary information for decision-making;
  • encouraging active consultation and participation among all affected parties and the public;
  • using negotiation and mediation to seek consensus; and
  • ensuring accountability through open communication, education and public access to information

To successfully implement these principles, they should be incorporated into the code of practice of governments and professional, industrial, community and other organizations involved in water management. These principles should be reassessed regularly to refine them in light of experience.

Water is a precious and finite natural resource, one which is essential to all life and vital to ecological, economic and social well being. Yet water is often wasted and degraded. Therefore we face both individual and collective responsibilities to use and manage water resources wisely. This will only be accomplished as we recognize the intrinsic value of water and practice conscious and committed stewardship, recognizing that this precious heritage must be safeguarded for future generations.

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