Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada

November 29, 2006 17:13 ET

Water Contamination and Flood Damage will Worsen Without a Province-Wide Plan, says Ducks Unlimited

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 29, 2006) - The Manager of Provincial Operations for Ducks Unlimited in BC says that the province will continue to see contamination of its water supply unless it can implement a comprehensive water management strategy, and make a stronger commitment to protect wetlands that purify our water.

Les Bogdan of DUC says, "The problems we've had from the extreme rainfall in the Lower Mainland may only be a glimmer of what's in store if we don't start taking a proactive approach to managing our watersheds. The flooding and water contamination could get far worse unless we take those measures now."

Wetlands act as natural buffers against flood damage by absorbing much of the excess water during flooding. Bogdan says that because BC has lost most of its natural wetlands from development, there is far less protection against floods when severe rainfalls occur to the degree they have this month.

"Wetlands also purify water and recharge the underground water supply. So not only do we rely on wetlands to provide safe drinking water, but without wetlands many of BC's fish and wildlife populations would be wiped out," says Bogdan. "We have to face the fact that we have let the majority of our wetlands disappear-in some parts of BC by as much as 90 per cent. That's why it is so critical that we secure the wetlands that do remain."

In addition to the loss of wetlands, development has paved over much of the ground surfaces which means rain water is forced into ditches, creeks and rivers that lead to flooding of homes and businesses.

"The costs of remediation following flooding can be astronomical," says Bogdan. "Wetlands could save taxpayers billions of dollars by preventing flood damage. The costs of dams and levees are at least ten times more costly."

As a science-based conservation organization Bogdan says DUC has been studying the issue of water quality and flooding for several years. DUC applied its expertise in biology, engineering and habitat management to deliver specific recommendations following the water contamination disaster at Walkerton, Ontario.

"The solutions we brought forward following the Walkerton tragedy are essentially the same ones that we would recommend for BC," says Bogdan. "Water is not an easy resource to manage. But the events of this month are an indication that it is an urgent priority."

Contact Information

  • Ducks Unlimited Canada
    Les Bogdan
    Manager of Provincial Operations for BC
    (604) 592-5000 or Cell: (604) 970-2178
    Ducks Unlimited Canada - BC
    Ellen Baragon
    (604) 592-5004 or (604) 315-7449