Canadian Municipal Water eBulletin

Water Haller: It was a very good year

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Naturally, as the year comes to an end, we look back at what went on in our world of water and what we accomplished as a national association. I was writing one of my quarterly reports for the board and our partner associations and thought, "For a fairly uneventful year, there was a lot going on at CWWA.”

While we saw a few changes in provincial governments, there were no big changes on the federal scene politically. No major legislation and no big surprises in the budget. We are working with a new Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, but most of our contacts have stayed the same. That said, there was a lot of interesting national dialogue that was initiated and advanced though 2018. Probably the most significant was the development of new guidelines for lead in Drinking Water – cutting the targets in half and altering sampling protocols. As this is introduced in 2019, our Drinking Water Committee is concerned on how this will play out and will work with our members, health units and regulators to manage the message to the public and the media.

We saw a lot of advancement by communities toward meeting their 2020 obligations under the WSER, while CWWA continues to argue for some flexibility within the regulations. Related to the WSER is an increase in biosolids and a revitalization of our Biosolids Committee to support our members with solid resources. Meanwhile, our efforts to create standards for ‘"flushable" products continues as we supported new research at Ryerson University on testing and verification.

Climate Change is the topic that encompasses almost all we do these days, touching each of our committees and their work.  Our Climate Change Committee has played a leading role in a national coalition and helped to draft a national Joint Statement calling for action to achieve our obligations under the Paris Climate Accord. As an industry, we can start by addressing our own efficiencies and our Water and Energy Efficiency Committee was very busy completing reports on Pump Efficiency, High Water Users and a helpful Position Paper on Food Grinders. Perhaps the greatest national effort has been the Roundtable on Flood Risk and the two Working Groups (Financial Risk Models and Flood Mapping).

Our Utility Leadership Committee (ULC) developed a position statement on Sustainable Water Systems, which is a framework for further detailed positions to follow – efficiency, viability and our ability to address issues are all related to sustainability. CWWA and our ULC have been working closely with our partners at Public Sector Digest and the Canadian Water Network on national surveys and reports on sustainability and climate change – work that will continue in 2019.  Meanwhile, our Security Committee, following the 2017 national survey and report on Resilience has been working closely with Public Safety Canada to advance further work from the findings of that 2017 report.

 All of these reports and positions I noted above are (or will soon be) available on our website.  Keep an eye on that website as we renew it in 2019 to e a better resource for you, our members.

Oh…we also renovated the offices, introduced a new Annual Report, published two magazines, 12 e-Bulletins and several Communiques, brought in a new partner to coordinate our events, ran a great Window on Ottawa and a record-breaking National Conference while making a big splash at the IWA World Congress in Tokyo to start the lead-up to us hosting the world in 2022!

 Look out 2019!