Exchanging Ideas on Climate
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
Exchanging ideas on Climate

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Charting a Path:
Water and Canada?s Natural Resource Sectors

Discussion Paper

(Adobe PDF version - 361 Kb)

Executive Summary

Freshwater resources are critical to Canada?s natural resource sector. The natural resource sector is, by far, the largest water user in the country and is thus a major influence on the sustainability of Canada?s water resources.

Although Canada has a relative abundance of freshwater resources, it is not free from water management challenges. Rising and competing demands for water resources create water quantity and quality issues as well as allocation challenges. These challenges are expected to intensify as the consequences of climate change and increased demands take hold. They are having, and will continue to have, significant impacts on ecosystems and are predicted to have major implications for the natural resource sectors, including potential serious economic impacts.

The effects of climate change on quantity and quality of Canada?s water resources will be profound. Climate change risks and impacts are increasingly being considered in industry planning and policy decision-making alongside other risk factors; however, integrated approaches to finding solutions are still in their infancy.

Adaptation and mitigation of these impacts are in the early stages in Canada. In some cases, firms have already implemented adaptation measures to climate change; however, a mix of policy responses will likely be necessary to achieve the goals of watershed and sector sustainability for the four water-dependent sectors we are examining.

While a wealth of research information related to water and the natural resource sectors exists, gaps remain. As a convener of diverse and competing interests and a catalyst for sustainability solutions, the NRTEE wants to seize this opportunity to advance Canada?s public policy knowledge and research and provide recommendations to governments and others on the sustainability of water and the natural resource sectors.



1. Introduction
1.1 Objectives of Workshop
1.2 Your Role
1.3 Purpose of Paper

2. Context

3. Water and the Natural Resource Sectors
3.1 Agriculture
3.2 Energy
3.3 Forestry
3.4 Mining (Minerals and Metals)

4. Cross-cutting Challenges

5. Where do we go from here?
5.1 Information for planning and management
5.2 Consideration of climate change in planning and decision-making
5.3 Quantification of water value and water use
5.4 Integrative Governance

6. Finding NRTEE?s Place

7. Case Study

Annex I: Program Overview