Posted on March 23, 2009 by Tia Lalani

Augustana Campus’ Green Campus Committee is working to make every day a water day.

By Nhial Tiitmamer
While there has been no event at University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus this year to observe World Water Day on March 22nd, the Green Campus Committee has been trying to make every day a water day on campus, said Dr. Glynnis Hood, Chairperson of the Augustana Green Campus Committee.

“As far as water resources go on campus, we have done a lot to help reduce our water use on campus,” she said. “One of the things that we have done is that in the senior dorms, we are switching the showers over to low flow fixtures and the toilets also to low flush toilets.”

“We use a significantly higher amount of water in Canada per person than almost any other country in the world. And I think that having that sort of technology already available to reduce our water consumption is very important.”

Dr. Hood, who is also an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science/Studies at Augustana Campus, said “water has always been a global issue but it is now becoming more of a political issue as well as an environmental issue.” According to her, the water problem is becoming a daily concern with the increase of drought as a result of warming climate, increase of pollution of water systems and turning of water into a commercial commodity.

“There has been an increasing awareness of water security and the need to look at the quantity and quality of water that we have – the ability for everybody to access clean drinking water at a good quantity,” she said of efforts being made through initiatives like the World Water Day.

Dr. Hood has been working closely with the Batter River Watershed Alliance (BRWA), a community based organization that aims at taking good care of the Battle River Watershed. The BRWA runs watershed competitions every year, which allow students to propose better ways to take care of the Battle River Watershed. She said there are three prizes at the university level. The first prize worth 900 dollars while second and third prizes worth 700 and 500 dollars respectively. She encourages students at Augustana Campus to enter these watershed competitions, which will be “a great way to tie in our concern about water.” Information for these competitions can be obtained from her office, N204 in North Hall.

Dr. Hood said we should “reassess what we are doing with agriculture relative to adjacent water resources.” She said people in Wainwright, one of the places in the Battle River Watershed, have “made a way to create watering areas for cattle on top of the river bank” so that cattle do not go to the edge of the river to trample the riparian vegetations and pollute the water with their dung. The watering areas are “done through gravity fed wells operated by solar panels.” She stressed the importance of adopting the Wainwright’s example in other areas in the Battle River Watershed.

Some studies have been done recently concerning the condition of the Battle River. Dr. Mike Sullivan will give a talk about the findings of these studies on March 24, 2009 in Camrose at the Stoney Creek Centre at 7:00 p.m. The talk will be important for people to understand the state of the Battle River.

In addition to that, Dr. Hood and one of her students have, this winter, been “doing a lot of work at Miquelon Lake area.” They have been examining “the quality of wetlands relative to biodiversity,” in which they have specifically looked at the “differences in ponds that are in protected areas and ponds that are in agricultural sites.”

With the use of water conserving fixtures, access to clean drinking water for everybody, constant studies and reduction of water pollution in our watershed, every day can be a World Water Day.

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