/ ©: Tessa MACINTOSH / WWF-Canada

Fresh Water

Flowing Rivers, Healthy Watersheds

Canada has 20% of the world’s fresh water, a huge global endowment and an abundance that has led to a false sense of security. Like blood pressure in the human body, it is the flow and movement of water, as opposed to only the raw quantities, that provide insight into the availability of fresh water and the health of ecosystems. According to this vital sign Canada’s rivers are coming under increasing pressure. Globally, freshwater species populations have fallen by at least 35% in the past 40 years. Nature needs fresh water to flourish and communities need healthy rivers and watersheds to prosper.

Water for Nature, Water for People



WWF-Canada is working to protect and restore environmental flows coursing through Canada’s rivers – using our accomplishments ‘in the water’ to catalyze lasting change in water policy on a national scale.

WWF is leading an innovative approach to freshwater conservation, focusing on environmental flows at the watershed scale to protect and restore the quantity, quality and timing of river flows so that we can meet the water needs of people and nature, securing Canada's freshwater future.

WWF Expert

 / ©: Elizabeth Hendriks / WWF-Canada
Elizabeth Hendriks
Acting Director, Freshwater Program

British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Act

WWF-Canada's submission in response to the B.C. Government’s “Legislative Proposal for British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Act.”

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WWF-Canada's Athabasca River Report

Report on Securing Environmental Flows in the Athabasca River. View report (1.44MB, PDF)
 / ©: Caroline Lauzon
Jacques-Cartier River in Fall
© Caroline Lauzon

Flowing into the Future

British Columbia is poised to amend its more than century-old Water Act, first passed in 1909. This gives the province the opportunity to be a national leader for water law across Canada – by protecting water rights for nature in new legislation. See the brochure and report below to find out why environmental flows need our protection to keep Canadian rivers healthy.

A New Water Act for British Columbia – What is environmental flow? Why is it important? Find out how WWF is working to keep our rivers healthy.

WWF and BC Government Co-Host Environmental Flows Workshop – In November , 2011, WWF-Canada’s Pacific region office co-hosted a workshop with two B.C. Ministries (Environment, and the new super-Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations) titled “Environmental Flows in the Proposed BC Water Sustainability Act.” The workshop was another step in making e-flows a key part of the proposed new B.C. provincial water law, and continued our collaboration with the province, environmental groups and other partners.

Linda Nowlan, WWF’s conservation director for the Pacific region, sits on the province’s technical advisory group for the development of the new Act. The action packed workshop was a great success, and attracted over 60 water practitioners. WWF’s Freshwater Ambassador, Scott Niedermayer, opened the workshop with a welcoming message.

Flowing into the Future: WWF Comments – British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Act Policy Proposal - Read our recommendations to government for protecting B.C. rivers in new provincial water law – and why this is important for rivers across Canada.

WWF-Canada's Wild Rivers of the Great Bear Report

Report on Wild Rivers of the Great Bear Reportr. View report (1.47MB, PDF)

The Mackenzie River

One of the world's few remaining completely wild rivers. Find out how to protect it...