Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Co-ordinated action needed to protect water resources

RM of Westbourne Reeve David Single, left, discusses water protection issues with Wes Pankratz and Lacy Kontzie from Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corp. at this week’s water-tech workshop.

CATE WATROUS/FOR THE SUN Enlarge Image

RM of Westbourne Reeve David Single, left, discusses water protection issues with Wes Pankratz and Lacy Kontzie from Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corp. at this week’s water-tech workshop.

Mobilizing communities to act for the restoration and protection of Manitoba’s water resources was one of the main themes of the water-tech workshop held this week in Brandon.

“There’s never enough time to do anything, until it’s time to do something,” says Lorne Fitch, the keynote speaker at this week’s water-tech workshop in Brandon.

Enlarge Image

“There’s never enough time to do anything, until it’s time to do something,” says Lorne Fitch, the keynote speaker at this week’s water-tech workshop in Brandon. (CATE WATROUS/FOR THE SUN)

More than 50 delegates representing industry, agriculture, government and environmental non-governmental organizations met at a one-day workshop to discuss the benefits to be derived from effective collaboration versus the risks of inaction.

It was hosted by the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association (MEIA).

Keynote speaker Lorne Fitch, from the Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society, a group more commonly known as Cows and Fish, struck a chord from the beginning of the day with his narrative about the early days of finding support for protecting waterways in Alberta’s cattle country.

"If you don’t do anything, nothing happens," Fitch said.

This simple statement about the paradox of changing people’s thinking with respect to environmental issues became the unofficial theme of this productive daylong workshop.

Participants were able to identify many of the barriers to innovation that currently exist and to suggest ways to motivate and nurture solution-oriented thinking.

Inertia is hard to overcome, but this group of homegrown experts was able to draw a picture of current concerns; and just as importantly, they were able to point out a number of directions where momentum for change already exists.

For example, during his panel session, Dan Mazier from Keystone Agricultural Producers shared his thoughts about flood mitigation and protection of cropland through water impoundment.

This method provides storage for spring floodwater and summer rainfall events. It mimics the natural retention of water on the landscape. By slowing peak flows, riparian areas along waterways are protected from the erosion caused by ever increasing high water levels that have resulted from draining Manitoba’s wetlands and prairie potholes.

Meanwhile, the consensus among workshop participants was that what appears to be lacking at the moment is clear leadership and co-ordination that would enable effective collaboration among the many agencies and organizations working on water issues.

The current piecemeal approach to problems means that there is often duplication of effort as small groups tackle similar projects across the province.

It was suggested that planning be done on a watershed basis, rather than the somewhat less functional municipal boundaries that currently shape this type of planning.

In addition, sharing local success stories will help inspire other communities to try innovative solutions to their water issues.

"Look to what was before deciding what should be," was a concept voiced by John Whitaker, a beef producer and fisheries biologist from the Erickson area.

This was another current that rippled through the day’s presentations and conversations emphasizing the pairing of scientific knowledge with local wisdom. Consensus was that studying and respecting the land’s history will prove useful in seeking solutions for the future.

And MEIA is putting Manitoba’s water-tech sector at the forefront of society’s changing perspectives about water resource protection.

Workshop discussion included the myth that what is good for the environment is bad for the economy and how that is simply not true. Everyone benefits when Manitoba’s water resources are protected. Jobs are created and Manitoba becomes known as a leader in environmental protection. Consumers and taxpayers get cost-effective solutions that deliver better results than ever before.

The enthusiastic response from influential leaders in industry, agriculture, government and ENGOs points to their keen interest to embark on a more co-ordinated approach to address the issues.

MEIA, working in partnership with the Industrial Research Assistance Program, has pledged to do their part to keep the discussion going through a series of workshops this winter.

These workshops form part of a larger project funded by the National Research Council to help Manitoba’s water-tech sector focus its research and development initiatives on the existing and emerging environmental issues facing Manitobans, as well as to connect municipal leaders and other consumers with the solutions that will best fit their needs.

The water-tech sector encompasses water and wastewater treatment technologies, surface water management, and nutrient management.

» Submitted

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 24, 2013

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 1 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

It may be worthwhile mentioning here that the provincial government is re-framing The Sustainable Development Act into The Green Prosperity Act.
They are seeking public feedback until February 28, 2013. Check the govt website to find the feedback form. The work described in this article may be impacted by changes to the act.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Mobilizing communities to act for the restoration and protection of Manitoba’s water resources was one of the main themes of the water-tech workshop held this week in Brandon.

More than 50 delegates representing industry, agriculture, government and environmental non-governmental organizations met at a one-day workshop to discuss the benefits to be derived from effective collaboration versus the risks of inaction.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

Mobilizing communities to act for the restoration and protection of Manitoba’s water resources was one of the main themes of the water-tech workshop held this week in Brandon.

More than 50 delegates representing industry, agriculture, government and environmental non-governmental organizations met at a one-day workshop to discuss the benefits to be derived from effective collaboration versus the risks of inaction.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media