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Agriculture This Week: World Rivers Day reminds of water importance

More than 100 countries involved in event
World Rivers Day is set for Sept. 26.
YORKTON - We are on the eve of World Rivers Day, and it is likely many among regular readers will not have been aware the day was upcoming. 

But, it should be a day with a higher profile. 

So what is the day, set for Sept. 26, all about? 

“World Rivers Day commemorates the many values of rivers and encourages river stewardship and conservation around the globe—a massive worldwide event involving up to 100 countries that has its roots in British Columbia Rivers Day,” detailed a recent press release to pop into my inbox recently. 

The day is one I was aware existed, and have written about before, but admittedly the day tends to slip from the forefront rather too easily.

Yet, the release noted “Millions of people and thousands of events, both physical and virtual, will mark World Rivers Day 2021 on Sunday, Sept. 26, in what has become one of the largest environmental celebrations on the planet.” 

That is impressive, although in many areas of Canada I still think the day is relatively unknown, largely because in Canada we still have relatively clean air, open spaces, abundant wildlife and yes clean water. 

Since Canadians enjoy rather easy access to things ‘wild’ it’s perhaps just too easy to dismiss environmental concerns, including efforts to preserve fresh, clean water as rather unnecessary. 

But again the release notes things are not the same around our world. 

“With many of the world’s rivers in a degraded state and facing increasing pressures associated with pollution, industrial development, and climate change, close to 100 countries will participate in this year’s activities. 

“The theme of this year’s event is once again “waterways in our communities” with a special emphasis on the need to protect and restore urban waterways which are often under great pressure.”

This year is the 16th annual World Rivers Day, which has its roots in the great success of BC Rivers Day, which is celebrating its 41st anniversary in Canada’s western-most province and which Angelo founded in conjunction with the Outdoor Recreation Council.

“World Rivers Day strives to increase public awareness of the importance of our waterways as well as the many threats confronting them,” said Angelo, founder of both BC and World Rivers Day and Chair Emeritus of the Rivers Institute at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in the release. 

One has to tip their hat to B.C. for taking a lead in raising awareness about an issue that is of greater significance around the world than we may recognize when looking locally.

Yet, here in Canada we cannot lose sight of the importance of water. It might seem the tap in the kitchen will always bring fresh, clean water, but The Walkerton E. coli outbreak in Ontario in 2000, In 2001, and the situation in North Battleford in 2001 when thousands fell ill after a parasite seeped into drinking water, well illustrates that may not always be the case. 

Efforts to conserve our rivers is just one step in preserving our vital water supply around the world.


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