Author(s): Ana Maria Ferreira Da Silva; Geoffrey Hall
Linked Author(s): Ana Maria Ferreira da Silva
Keywords: Canadian surface waters; Coastal zones; Climate change; Negative impacts; Emerging opportunities; Recent initiatives
Abstract: With an abundance of lakes, rivers and streams and an extended shoreline, Canada‟s society and economy are heavily dependent on its surface water resources. Climate change and its effect on water bodies thus are a particular concern in this country–especially since many of them and their rich and complex ecosystems are already under considerable anthropogenic stress. The purpose of this paper is to outline the main impacts of climate change on Canadian surface water bodies, with a focus on coastal zones, and present some of their wide implications for Canadian society, economy, and environment. Some positive impacts and opportunities for growth and economic development resulting from climate change are also presented. To provide a more holistic understanding of the situation, the societal and economic value of Canada‟s inland and coastal waters is discussed first, through considerations regarding Canada‟s population and its geographic distribution, water supply sources and water uses, hydropower production and the significance of commercial shipping. Finally, the paper is also used as an opportunity to introduce some recent Canadian water or water-related initiatives and research investments, born out of the country‟s need to contribute to the mitigation of climate change at a global level, and the need to develop an integrated management plan for its water resources in a changing climate.