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OMWA Premiere Water Symposium Attracts International Attention

Ontario Municipal Water Association President's Message: “OMWA Premiere Water Symposium Attracts International Attention” 

“Delivering water 24 hours a day, seven days a week without interruption is a basic necessity for public health.”  

Quoted by Water Director, Paula Keyhoe of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, featured in an article by WaterTAP, and a recent Speaker at World Water Tech North America 2017.

As an elected official dealing with municipal water systems, and their oversight responsibility, these words resonate intensely. We value and rely on the security and benefits of our public water systems for our constituents and the health of our communities, throughout our province.

While hosting the Premiere Ontario Municipal Water Symposium in partnership with Water Tap, Ontario Water Innovation Week, and World Water Tech North America this past October 30-Nov. 3, I contemplated York Region’s “ONE WATER ACTION PLAN 2017” and this particularly statement, 

“The full value of “One Water” can be unlocked “only” through partnerships”.
  
Partnerships that are forged by mutual “interest, goals and respect.”

In partnerships, whether through technology, policy, governance etc. we are more capable of protecting our water and its environment today, while ensuring its sustainability for future generations.

These two quotes have a powerful message for all of us engaged in delivering clean sustainable drinking water to our public.

The OMWA was appreciative to have the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change; the Honourable Chris Ballard deliver Opening Remarks and an update on current water/environment related initiatives, at our recent Water Symposium;

  • Water testing of school fountains and taps;
  • Moratorium on water bottling companies Permits to Take Water, and strict restrictions on existing permits upon renewal;
  • Lake Erie showing most pronounced effects of Climate Change (target 40% reduction of phosphorous loading by 2022);
  •  Municipal Land Use Mapping- updating documents showing Intake Protection Zones and Well Head Protection Areas.

The OMWA collaborates with the MOECC on a number of water-related strategies, including how the OMWA can be of assistance to the MOECC working with First Nations initiatives. 

We applaud the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for establishing the Indigenous Drinking Water Projects Office:

“The province is a partner on a Trilateral Steering Committee, established in September 2016, made up of representatives from Chiefs of Ontario, Political Territorial Organizations (including the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Grand Council Treaty 3, Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Anishinaebek Nation), the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Health Canada”.

Since work under this collaborative partnership began, seven long-term drinking water advisories in six communities have been lifted as of June 30, 2017. This is a great success story of leadership, partnership and respect, but there is much work ahead through this team effort.

International delegates from across North America and beyond were in attendance for this year Premiere Water Symposium. Opportunities to connect with bright innovative young professionals and seasoned veterans of the Water Industry were quite apparent as the constant buzz throughout the Symposium could be heard at breaks, over lunches and networking sessions.

International delegates exhibited keen interests in Ontario’s/Canada’s “Business Landscape” and the opportunities available here. 

Networking with these professionals/individuals and companies made it apparent that we are all connected through water.

We all share the same passion, concerns, and hopes for our water now and for future generations. 

Looking to the future, we are fortunate to have the engaged generation and Young Professional ready to take over the torch for the next leg of the journey. They not only see the importance for partnerships, all-inclusiveness, and the value of empowerment, but also engaging everyone in this, Our Water Conversation!

In partnerships, whether through technology, policy, governance etc. we are more capable of protecting our water and its environment today, while ensuring its sustainability for future generations.

Stay tuned to omwa.org for upcoming events and daily water news and subscribe to our 3x-week newswire for news about water-related issues and events from around the province, the nation and the world. Follow us on Twitter: @muniwater.