Water is employment – an estimated three out of four jobs in the global workforce are dependent on water. Globally 1.5 billion people are employed in water and natural resources dependent industries. In the WMR alone in the agri-business sector has 18,000 jobs related to this industry alone and 3100 businesses.
Here in Manitoba, our economy is also heavily tied to a reliable supply of fresh clean water and we could experience limits to our economic growth as our supply becomes less predictable and the demand increases. Last week 12 rural municipalities in Manitoba declared a state of agriculture emergency due to severe drought.
The lack of volume and frequency of precipitation has left crops dry and feedstock in short supply. Along with resource scarcity for the agricultural sector there is an increasing pressure on the global supply for residential and commercial use. With ground water and other conventional sources feeling the pressure as they are being used at significantly increasing rates.
Many municipalities across the province and in the Winnipeg METRO Region have recognized the importance of protecting and managing their water and are working together to address this. First, by better understanding the state of our water resources, how they are being used and secondly, by planning together on how to best serve a growing population and economy.
Leaders in the Winnipeg METRO Region will begin work this year on a regional land use and servicing plan that puts water resources, agricultural land at the forefront in the planning.
Hopefully with some strong leadership, some real collaboration and some good planning, we can ensure we have this valuable resource to support our quality of life and our economy now, and 25 years into the future.
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