“Water is a precious and finite resource and we need to protect its quantity and quality,” said Carleton University’s Dr. Banu Örmeci, Canada Research Chair in Wastewater Treatment Engineering and Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

That water is limited and valuable was the recurring message delivered by panelists at the Water Stress Panel held at the Government Conference Centre March 31, 2014.

Canada is the most water rich nation on earth.  Canadian households use twice as much water and pay less than half as much as European households. Yet 25% of Canadian municipalities have experienced water shortages and the number of First Nations under drinking water advisories has grown by 40% since 2006. We face billions in water infrastructure costs.

Dr. Örmeci joined Ottawa Riverkeeper Meredith Brown and Irving LeBlanc, Associate Director at the Assembly of First Nations, in calling for water pricing that reflects the true cost of delivery and a public education program to ensure people understand where they get their drinking water and the need to protect and conserve it.

Dr. Robert Slater, Adjunct Professor in Environmental Policy from Carleton University, argued that water stress also offered an opportunity.  “There can be a commercial advantage to conserve water even if there is not the motivation to preserve water for the next generation.”

Members of Parliament, diplomats, and representatives from government and civil society organizations listening to the debate moderated by Dr. Christopher Waddell, Director of the School of Journalism and Communication. Dr. André Plourde, Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs, delivered closing remarks.

The panel was cohosted by Harold Albrecht, M.P., chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development; Paul Dewar, M.P., Official Opposition critic for Foreign Affairs; and John McKay, M.P., Liberal Environment critic.

CPAC taped the panel for broadcast at a later date.

Power point presentations are available from

  1. Dr. Banu Örmeci, Canada Research Chair in Wastewater Treatment Engineering and Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carleton University
  2. Irving Leblanc, Associate Director, Housing, Infrastructure and Emergency Issues Management, Assembly of First Nations