Environment and Climate Change Canada (Water Science Infographics)

Page 1

Theme 1: Climate Variability and Climate Change Impacts GAPS

Hydro Climatic Extremes

• Remote-sensing technology to track Canada’s water budget • Better modelling of frequency, intensity, duration and extent of floods and droughts

• Nation-wide data on vulnerable organisms and regions related to freshwater ecosystem impacts



Collaboration is key for tackling climate change impacts on Canadian waters

Aquatic Biodiversity


+- •

Climate change models that include water quality and aquatic biodiversity data

Water Balance, Availability, and Sustainability



! Water Quality Impacts

In the Arctic Permafrost thawing is changing the tundra landscape by creating pits and valleys, known as thermokarst. This allows metals, nutrients, and organics to flow into freshwater bodies, impacting water quality.

Theme 2: Nutrients and Agricultural Land Use AGRICULTURAL-SOURCED STRESSORS

Freshwater Contamination Nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients seep from agricultural lands into nearby freshwater bodies.

High water demand



Excess nutrients

Harmful algal blooms Soil moisture monitoring Increased precipitation and lengthier droughts make agricultural lands more susceptible to erosion.

• HABs can produce toxins and other chemical compounds that can make waters unsafe and unusable for drinking. • HABs make freshwater habitats unsuitable for native species.


Metabolomics & eDNA To help illustrate how nutrients are absorbed, retained, and stored in freshwater ecosystems

Data collection To better understand nutrient discharge from wastewater treatment on aquatic ecosystems

Mapping of irrigation fields To track erosion and pinpoint GHG emissions for: • Improved nutrient management • Better understanding of agriculture and water interactions

HAB Research To better understand how HABs impact: • Food webs • Bioactive metabolites (like antibiotics) • Microbial communities

Earth Observation Technologies To fine tune and update irrigation maps across Canada on a yearly basis

Theme 3: Other Land Use Change and Anthropogenic Activities


New technologies to resolve stressors caused by hydro dams

Better prevention, early response, and control practices for AIS

More research on aquaculture and its impacts on freshwater environments

Forest management decisions based on drinking water and freshwater habitat impacts

Improved water recycling in mining operations

Forest changes The forest and freshwater relationship is changing, causing: • Increased flood risks • Threats to drinking water supply • Altered critical aquatic habitats

Hydropower-sourced stressors

Metals and mining

Hydro dams can cause: • Changes in water flow • Impacts on fluvial habitats and species who rely on them • Toxic build up in aquatic organisms (like mercury)

The mining industry relies heavily on the use of water and contaminates surrounding freshwater ecosystems through mine effluents and acid mine drainage.

Aquatic Invasive Species

Aquaculture Aquaculture feed increases phosphorus levels and reduces oxygen levels. Land-based aquaculture facilities also release effluents into nearby waters.

Aquatic Invastive Species (AIS) spread quickly, altering or destroying habitats, impacting economically valuable species, and introducing disease and pathogens. Managing AIS can cost millions $ annually.

Fish habitat Fish are threatened by habitat degradation and modification, AIS, and poor water quality due to pollution and climate change.

Theme 4: Contaminants and Pollution

Increased precipitation

Urban runoff

Wastewater effluents


Detection, research, and regulation of contaminants and pollution

Research on the distribution and fate of plastics in the environment

Better understanding of the impacts of untreated wastewater and its cumulative effects

Legacy and emerging contaminants: remain in the

aquatic environment for a long time and can cause ecological and human health issues.

Endocrine-disrupting substances: are used in

agriculture, manufacturing, and consumer products and interfere with endocrine function.

Pesticides: degrade

Pathogens and viruses:

microorganisms from wastewaters that can generate ecological and human health problems.

Plastics: also remain in the environment for a long time and pose problems for ecosystem function, biodiversity, and habitat integrity.

environments, contaminate ground and surface waters, bioaccumulate in food webs, and often impact non-target species.

Theme 5: Multiple Stressors A good science strategy Decision-making must consider all interactions between humans and their environment by

integrating field monitoring, modelling, and other ways of understanding these changes.

Cumulative effects

needs to be holistic.

Stressors are not only additive but can also be synergistic. A combination of stressors can have a much greater impact when felt together, rather than when they’re isolated.

GAPS • Foster collaboration between academia and Indigenous communities for watershed management. • Increase knowledge on multiple stressors and cumulative effects in under studied regions, like the North. • Research complex mixtures of effluents, pollutants, and nutrients for surface and groundwater as they related to drinking water.

Theme 6: Chemical Mixtures

Industrial activities, municipal wastewater, and agricultural practices are major sources of complex chemicals found in freshwater ecosystems.


Chemical monitoring is taking place across Canada.


Canada and the US collaborate on long-term datasets on the effects of urbanization and agriculture.

Sources of Chemical Mixtures • Municipal Wastewater • Agriculture • Landfills • Mining Industry • Seafood Processing Plants

Fish Feminization: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals from wastewater effluents can cause male fish to express female characteristics.

Theme 7: Stressor Impacts on Ecosystem Services of Canadian Freshwaters

Forests filter freshwater and increase water quality




Changes to environmental flows

Freshwater Ecosystem Services Natural flood protection


Drinking water


Fisheries depend on sustainable freshwater ecosystems

Regulating Supporting


Harmful algal blooms Recreation

Nutrient cycling

• Monitor and protect freshwater ecosystems

Aquatic species habitat


A whole-of-government approach is needed for freshwater ecosystem services in Canada

Contaminants and pathogens

• Co-develop with Indigenous communities

Theme 8: Environmental Flows Impacts on environmental flows Monitoring environmental flow shifts, like clay and silt finding their way to the bottom of aquatic habitats or eroding banks, can help us understand what is happening within a freshwater ecosystem. Increased rainfall leads to increased water levels.

Snowmelt and glaciers melting increases the volume of water.

Human-made structures, like dams, alter water flow.

Environmental flows sustain freshwater ecosystems, people and their communities.

Drought is caused by a lack of freshwater in the environment.

Theme 9: Groundwater


consider atmosphere, land surface, hydrology and groundwater


More than 30% of Canadians rely on groundwater for drinking water.


Municipal well

Groundwater is the main water supply for ~80% of the rural population in Canada.


identify and protect groundwater flows for freshwater ecosystems Surface Water Groundwater

Population Growth

Water Availability


mobilize knowledge and technology that consider the needs of policy makers and the public

The amount of water in Canadian aquifers is unknown

Theme 10: Indigenous Co-Development

Water is the giver of life, Nibi onje biimaadiiziiwin, in Anishinaabe water law.

ship Owner

Freshwater science in Canada is strengthened by First Nations Principles and Indigenous Knowledge.

Ind i Kn genou ow led s ge


Freshwater Science




Capacity Building Meaningful Engagement Envisioned Protection




tn Par

l ro t n

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.