Large areas of Northern America are abundant in water resources such as most parts of Canada and the bordering states of the USA. Water governance can be challenging in these areas and under pricing of water is an issue. Other challenges related to water governance are collision between federal and local regulations. Although provinces and states have the responsibility for water management, they do not always have the capacity to act regionally. This can affect drinking water quality, particularly in rural and indigenous areas. Other challenges are increased flood risks due to increased glacier melt and unpredictable river flows.
Deterioration of water quality in surface water reserves and contamination of public waterways is another issue, particularly in the area of the Great Lakes. Moreover, climate change negatively impacts water quality and degrades aquatic biodiversity. In other areas, particularly in the Mid-Western States of the USA, algae blooms present a threat to the water quality. Contamination of drinking water supply has also been under threat.
The effects of climate change are felt in large parts of Northern America and for a long time these related issues have been left unaddressed. A big challenge is the increasing vulnerability of urban areas due to extreme weather events. The events of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have spurred enormous public attention to the vulnerability of US coastlines and large urban centres. The challenge remains, how to protect existing infrastructure and development.
Other areas, mainly the Southern States of the USA face issues with droughts and wildfires. Particularly in the Southwest of the USA, reservoir and aquifer levels are dropping, with direct impacts on agricultural, industrial and residential availability. In these areas, competition over water and related governance and conflicts present an issue.
There exist many opportunities for the Dutch water sector in Northern America. Both Canada and the United States of America have mature markets with a high-level workforce and a positive investment and business climate. Resiliency tools and smart technologies for urban and coastal areas have a high interest. Especially because of the huge public attention.
There is an interest in solutions that address water quality issues: smart solutions that regulate, monitor and improve surface water quality. As well as solutions that address quality of drinking water infrastructure and services.
For the more arid regions, water efficiency, smarter irrigation, water resource management are all areas of need with regards to knowledge, capacity and solutions. Last but not least, there also exist opportunities in governance of water resources such as: management of non-revenue water and water supply services, and integrated coastal management.
The Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) has a broad experience in collaborating with the Northern America water sector and has nurtured a broad network of experts and businesses across the different parts of the sector. NWP can support enterprises interested in working in this region by connecting them to partners and catalysing impactful projects.