Urban Water Resources Management

  • Roger K. Brown
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSE, volume 180)


This paper deals with the various elements of water resources as they impact on urban development in Canada. There are a number of water uses essential to our urban communities ranging from domestic consumption through industrial uses to less direct uses for fire protection and landscape maintenance.

There are variations in water quality due to pollution of surface and ground waters, despite efforts made to treat effluents of sanitary sewage, industrial waste, and solid waste sites. Our water resources often involve flooding and erosion, creating damage to property and threatening the lives of our citizens.

The paper concentrates on the Great Lakes watershed and Metropolitan Toronto in particular. with a general description of the physical environment and background of development of the largest urban region in Canada. It describes how water resources have been managed in this greater Toronto city of about 3 million people. Water has been a major factor in encouraging development since World War II, allowing a high standard of living and economic stability. Financing of water resource development is also covered as this can often be the controlling factor in water resource management.

There may be some concepts from the Toronto experience that can be used elsewhere in the NATO Alliance. Canadians are very fortunate to have such bountiful supplies of fresh water. The challenge now is to prevent gradual pollution from destroying this valuable national resource.

Management of urban water resources in Canada has tended to be fragmented and rather short term in outlook. Too often the immediate economic problem of the day would determine decisions. Overall considerations were often submerged by a very narrow viewpoint. Decisions on water supply, flood control, and more recently pollution have been the result of crisis or political expediency. Why do we wait for the inevitable problem before considering preventative action?

Now it is time to look ahead, plan for change, and take action to avoid those future difficulties. Good management requires good planning and a broad perception of future needs. There is enough evidence now to point the way to the future. This paper outlines the current status of our water resources and where the weaknesses lie.


Water Resource Great Lake Acid Rain Conservation Authority Sanitary Sewer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger K. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Commissioner of WorksCity of ScarboroughScarboroughCanada

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