The recently released RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Survey sheds light on the urgent need for the work that we do here at Waterkeeper.
The biggest take-away from the report is something we have known for a while: Canadians are disconnected from their waters.
An interesting example of this is their information about Canadians’ responses about flooding. The survey reports that Canadians see climate change as the number one threat to their waters, but they do not see themselves personally affected by these changes.
Two major Canadian cities have had severe storms in the past three years. In Toronto, there have been three “100-year storms” and eight “25-year storms” in the past decade. Even though Canadians say they notice more news stories about floods, they do not feel personally vulnerable to floods or droughts. They recognize the problem, but do not feel the impact.
This disconnect illustrates the need for Canadians to understand their unique and personal connection to water. At Waterkeeper, we use the Watermark Project to help Canadians understand their unique and personal connection. When you share your Watermark, you discover your own water story and your reason for protecting it. Once you understand your personal connection to water, you are better placed to recognize and respond to water threats.
The water attitudes survey also states that 25% of Canadians have experienced a boil water advisory. Drink Guide shares consumption warnings to let you know if your tap water is safe to drink. This service does not solve threats to our drinking water, but it does give Canadians the information they need to protect themselves from unclean drinking water. It also gives Canadians a tool to educate themselves about the water in their community and across the country.
Swim Guide also provides up-to-date water quality information for thousands of beaches in Canada. The survey states that ⅔ respondents are concerned about water quality where they swim. With easily accessible information, Swim Guide helps you make better choices. It’s also a tool for reporting pollution – an excellent way to get involved in protecting your watershed.
Respondents rank environmental non-profits the most trusted sources of information about water quality and safety. Government and media are ranked as the lowest. By supporting Waterkeeper and sharing the tools we have created, you are giving your family and friends the credible information they need to got it protect their health and the waterbodies they love.
This is the second of two blog posts on the 2016 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Survey. Read the first part here.