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Agriculture This Week - River Day supports water's importance

Farmers have generally tended to be responsible in terms of caring for the land they farm.

Farmers have generally tended to be responsible in terms of caring for the land they farm.

Certainly, there are examples to the opposite, examples of farm run-offs causing issues, and land being less farmed, and more mined, but those approaches are more a thing of the past, at least among informed modern farmers.

The sector as a whole has come to understand land is a resource which must be managed in a way which ensures its viability over the long term.

Tightly connected to those efforts, at least in my mind, is a need to be sustainably responsible in terms of the resource of water.

That is where something such as World Rivers Day, set for Sept. 23, is important.

“World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world’s waterways,” details “It highlights the many values of our rivers, strives to increase public awareness, and encourages the improved stewardship of all rivers around the world. Rivers in virtually every country face an array of threats, and only through our active involvement can we ensure their health in the years ahead.”

Interestingly, although perhaps not surprising given the interest in conservation many in this country have, Canada played a role in the establishment of the day.

“In 2005, the United Nations launched the Water for Life Decade to help create a greater awareness of the need to better care for our water resources,” details the website. “Following this, the establishment of World Rivers Day was in response to a proposal initiated by internationally renowned river advocate, Mark Angelo.

“The proposal for a global event to celebrate rivers was based on the success of BC Rivers Day, which Mark Angelo had founded and led in western Canada since 1980. A World Rivers Day event was seen by agencies of the UN as a good fit for the aims of the Water for Life Decade and the proposal was approved. River enthusiasts from around the world came together to organize the inaugural WRD event. That first event in 2005 was a great success and Rivers Day was celebrated across dozens of countries.  Since then, the event has continued to grow.  It is annually celebrated on the last Sunday of every September.

“Last year, several million people across more than 60 countries celebrated the many values of our waterways.”

Awareness of the critical nature of our water, and the role rivers play not just as a water source, but an economic driver in terms of transportation, including grain movement, and recreation, is important.

Also important is farmers recognizing their role in protecting and preserving surface water sources such as our rivers.

Calvin Daniels is Editor with Yorkton This Week.