Minister Goodale opens Prairie Water Summit

News release

June 24, 2019 – Regina, Saskatchewan – Western Economic Diversification Canada

The supply and management of water is one of the most powerful drivers of prosperity and economic security on the Prairies – and as the impacts of climate volatility on residents grow, it will become more important than ever. That is why the Government is investing up to $1 million this year to develop a new strategy to sustainably manage water and land on the Prairies.

Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), launched the Prairie Water Summit.

The Prairie Water Summit is led by WD, working with partners and stakeholders to identify the conditions needed to better manage water and ensure water security across the Prairies. More severe, frequent, and costly storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires cause debilitating cycles of too much water and then too little. Lives and livelihoods are threatened. A potential project in south Saskatchewan could become a test case to inform the strategy, and to identify options to address water security challenges in that region. The goal is to support ongoing, coordinated action and transformative measures to promote:

  • economic growth and diversification in agriculture including the growing of food and food processing activities resulting from the Protein Industries Canada Supercluster, mining, industrial, manufacturing, and tourism and recreation sectors;
  • community resilience to adapt to increased climate volatility and contribute to social well-being; and,
  • environmental sustainability and improved water quality for the benefit of current and future generations, wildlife and aquatic species.

Quotes

“To see meaningful growth and prosperity on the Prairies, we need to secure both the quantity and the quality of the water. Our goal is to ensure that cities and towns, Indigenous communities, farms, and industry get the water security they need to thrive.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Weather patterns are becoming increasingly more severe and unpredictable, as we see more storms and larger floods, and longer droughts with larger wildfires that affect people and communities. The Government of Canada will work with all parties to find the best ways of managing the water available to us, and building the infrastructure necessary to provide for water quality and quantity that will serve the residents of the Prairies in future years.”

- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness  

Quick facts

  • Floods, droughts and fires have caused damages adding up to billions of dollars across the Prairies in recent years, and the insurance industry expects that this pattern of losses will continue to intensify.

  • South central and southeast Saskatchewan have experienced intermittent water management and water quality challenges, as well as periodic seasonal flooding. According to some estimates, water demand from municipal, industrial, and agricultural users in this region could exceed supply in the near future.

  • The Prairies-based and water-dependent plant protein industry is expected to make a $4.5 billion dollar impact and create 4,500 jobs over the next 10 years.

Associated links

Contacts

Rhonda Laing
Director, Policy, Planning and External Relations
Western Economic Diversification Canada
306-975-5944
rhonda.laing@canada.ca  

Follow the department on Twitter: @ISED_CA, @WD_Canada

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