When we think Canada we think a land of sparkling rivers, lakes, and streams. Groundwater, however, seems to get overlooked. Consequently, the focus of water quality lies on surface water, while the value of Canada’s hidden resource is less understood.
Nearly a third of the population of Canada relies on groundwater for safe drinking. In rural areas, more than 80% rely on groundwater for domestic use. A necessity for these people of Canada, groundwater research is under-resourced and the water quality is under threat. According to David McLaughlin, former president and CEO of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, factors such as population growth, urbanization, resource development, climate change impacts, agricultural intensification and practices and contaminated sites, are putting this critical resource at risk.
Not only is groundwater being polluted, it is also being overused, specifically by private users. Groundwater is given away to these private users with very little cost and concern, including concern for quantity and quality. This overuse is exhausting groundwater as a resource and needs to be more closely monitored in order to maintain sustainability.
Although public concern is rising, the Government still needs to find a new approach to protecting and monitoring their groundwater, before the problem gets worse or starts contributing to surface water contamination. This is a perfect opportunity for the government and private sector partners to work toward a high tech solution that incorporates remote sensors, automated data collection, and a national monitoring network.