In our 2021 Network priorities survey, we asked you, our members, where we should invest the most time and effort to develop data in our Shared Measurement System over the coming year.
The Shared Measurement System acts as a collective vision guiding us towards achieving our ambitious goal of “all waters in Canada in good health by 2030.” It’s a strategy to unite and align the freshwater community’s work, and to tangibly measure our progress. Shared measurement can clarify how to scale up our actions and how the work you're already doing as member organizations contributes to our common agenda.
Updates to Three Impact Measures
This unique system, developed iteratively by freshwater advocates since the inception of the Network, consists of 24 impact measures.
After considering the results from our 2021 Network priorities survey, we invested resources in updating two impact measures, and developing data for the first time on a third.
For the first time, we have data on the Enforceable Water Quality Standards impact measure. We now know that no provinces or territories currently have a legally enforceable standard for surface water quality. Only six provinces and territories have any water quality standards at all, although they are not enforceable.
Regarding the Freshwater Policy impact measure, seven federal, provincial or territorial jurisdictions currently have a freshwater policy or law that is less than ten years old. This being said, no jurisdiction has a freshwater policy AND a law that are both this new.
Finally, we are now in a position to compare data between 2017 and 2021 on our Drinking Water Advisories impact measure. The total number of communities we recorded with drinking water advisories in 2017 was 1,128, while in 2021 the number dropped to 978. Although this trend is encouraging, a lot of work remains to be done — especially since Indigenous communities are disproportionately affected. While 10% of 2021 advisories were in Indigenous communities, only about 1% of the population in Canada lives on First Nations reserves.
What can you do?
If you’re feeling concerned by some of these numbers, and also inspired to advocate on behalf of freshwater, consider adding your organization’s voice to the Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters. The CCHW is actively advocating the federal government for freshwater policy change, and needs you to join the united call to action!