WWF Canada Blog:
Fresh Water

News, views and analysis from our team as we work to create solutions to conservation challenges facing our planet.


Down the Drain: How we are failing to protect our water resources

I am fortunate that I love my job and the people I work with.  Generally, I am thankful to get up and get to work each day but some days I am downright lucky!  Recently, I had one of those days.  I attended the book launch of, “Down the Drain:  How we Are Failing to Protect Our Water Resources” by Ralph Pentland and Chris Wood.

Ralph Pentland, I would argue, is the godfather of water policy in Canada – he lead the creation of our Federal Water Policy!  He is more ears than yammer but, if you ever find yourself in the same room as him, I encourage you to bite your tongue and listen.  He has over 50 years of experience working in the water industry and has a thing or two to tell you.

Skeena River and forested coastline near Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada.© Mike Ambach / WWF-Canada

Skeena River and forested coastline near Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada.© Mike Ambach / WWF-Canada

Chris Wood has been an author for over thirty years.  His ability to translate scientific data for the public is a talent few have.  He weaves stories that challenge the reader to think twice about their assumptions by making the impacts of research tangible. Bringing Ralph and Chris together for this book was pure brilliance.

In “Down the Drain”, the authors diligently outline Canada’s “sub-par performance” in managing our major freshwater resources.   We are consistently rank at the bottom of the list of industrialized countries on addressing issues like drinking water standards (we have no national standards)and toxics and consumption.  They highlight the failure of generations of politicians to stand up for our natural resources – and they don’t stop there.

The book issues an inspiring call to action for our waters.  Ralph, at the book launch, asked the question, “Why don’t Canadian voters demand something better?”  He speculates it is because we have never been asked to have an adult conversation about the consequences of our governments’ poor performance.  The authors remind us not just of our responsibility and the governments’ legal duty, but also that that we are capable of taking action.  We are capable of making and keeping our waters healthy, and protecting our great freshwater wealth.  While the Federal Government might be reducing the capacity to monitor and address these concerns, local watershed organizations, businesses and citizens are working hard to fill that gap.  It’s our right, our privilege, and our responsibility to protect our freshwater resources for ourselves, the world and future generations.

To learn more, please do check out “Down the Drain” – it’s well worth the read!