Municipalities and Non-Profits Mark World Water Day (March 22)

663 million people still do not have adequate access to clean water, according to the United Nations. In Canada, many First Nations communities and remote locales deal with this issue on a daily basis. The unfortunate reality around the world is that poor or nonexistent sanitary systems often result in contaminated drinking water supplies.

In 1993 the UN designated March 22nd as World Water Day to highlight critical water issues. The theme for 2017 is wastewater and how to reduce and reuse it. More information about World Water Day in Canada is available at

Climate change is altering precipitation levels throughout communities across Canada. The volatility of the amount and intensity of rainfall is a particular challenge. Extreme rainfall events often overwhelm storm water and wastewater infrastructure, unnecessarily sending clean rainwater to processing facilities and unavoidably sending untreated wastewater into the natural environment. Municipalities increasingly are recognizing that slowing down and diverting rainwater can mitigate the potential for damage and save millions of dollars. These steps can extend the lifespan of related infrastructure such as sewer systems and also reduce the use of wastewater processing chemicals. This is one reason why Hamilton, Brantford, Halton Region, Guelph, Richmond Hill, Peel Region and many other communities host annual events to distribute rain barrels.

Rain barrels collect free water from a roof and store it for future use in gardens and for watering lawns, shrubs and trees. Rainwater is free of chlorine and fluoride which are typically found in tap water and is the preferred choice of local residents with the best looking gardens. Homeowners with rain barrels can disconnect their downspouts from the sewer systems, resulting in redirection of overflow to permeable ground surfaces that filter and absorb the water. This natural filtering helps ensure a cleaner and replenished water supply.

Hundreds of non-profit organizations have utilized rain barrel fundraising sales to support their work in their local communities. A growing list of 2017 participating non-profit organizations and municipalities is now posted at