Water Innovation and Smart Water Use in Canada’s Agricultural Sector Dianne Cunningham, Director Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management www.lawrencecentre.ca Canadian Water Summit June 14, 2011 Toronto, Ontario
Each year the Lawrence National Centre hosts a major policy
workshop, bringing together representatives from business,
government, academia and non-governmental organizations.
Water Innovation Forum (2011)
Food and Health: Advancing the Policy Agenda (2010)
Making Green Energy Happen: Policies and Priorities (2009)
The Ontario-Québec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor (2008)
Developing Sustainable Energy Policy: Building Paths to a Low-Carbon Society (2006)
Water Innovation Forum: A Competitive and Innovative Agricultural Sector
January 23-24, 2011
The Lawrence Centre, in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) through Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, brought together more than 100 representatives of industry, academia and government to discuss agriculture’s use of water and innovative solutions.
Create policy that is favourable for small business, where implementation is easily adapted.
Continue to invest in water infrastructure to increase efficiency, optimize water use and Canada’s competitiveness agenda.
Create a base regulatory framework to set standards to ensure health and safety but not choke out innovation by setting too many rules.
Government has a role in encouraging innovation through initiatives such as the “Water Opportunities Act”, “Water TAP” and “Open for Business”, that create a framework to set the tone and pace of innovation.
When a market is introduced and innovators are rewarded for their efforts, standards are not only met, they are often exceeded.
Private sector standards, as opposed to government standards, will be a large player in driving future market signals for producers. Consumers are asking for environmental measures as a condition of sale. Retailers push suppliers to respond to customer preferences.
The European market is driving the producer to be innovative. The process for achieving certification and secure market access (e.g. GLOBALG.A.P. ), is leading to better business practices.
Municipal water and sewage pricing should be addressed.
Producers expressed that water pricing would hinder agricultural operations and they may not be in a position to react.
Build science capacity around the collection of water use measurement (data, monitoring, budgets, modeling). Data on water taking is partial. Water use in different scenarios is required. This is critical to understanding the economic value of water.
Understand the value of water and its various applications before determining how best to signal water use. Does the water footprint include carbon and address the crucial water, energy nexus?
Consider establishing an agriculture and water governance innovation centre.
Countries that experience a lack of access to fresh water tend to be water innovators. For example, Pakistan, India, Australia, Israel. Need drives innovation. We need to understand the myth of abundance in Canada, and the science around water use consumption.