issues and experts

Water security required to eliminate poverty in Canada and beyond

October 12, 2017

Did you know that while Canada has about 20 per cent of the world's freshwater supply, there are still some Canadians without access to clean water?

"Water security is an issue that some Canadians face every day, especially in First Nations communities," says Zafar Adeel, SFU's Pacific Water Research Centre executive director. "More than 150 drinking water advisories were in effect in those communities as of July, some of which have been in place for years and even decades."

Canada is one of 193 nations that committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. The SDGs offer a development framework to provide safe water and adequate sanitation services to every human being on the planet. 

Adeel, an editor and contributor to a new book, The Human Face of Water Security, says for Canada to successfully achieve the SDGs related to water, it must ensure that its indigenous and rural populations have full access to safe water and sanitation. Boil-water advisories should deal only with emergencies and not become a routine that persists over years and decades. 

Since 2015, the World Economic Forum has repeatedly ranked the global water crisis as one of the top threats to the global economy and stability. The situation is worsening as climate change continues to disrupt the water cycle. 

Says Adeel, "Canada must prepare for the increasing impacts of climate change on the availability and quality of its water resources.”

Zafar Adeel, Pacific Water Research Centre, 778.782.4378,