Sunday, September 09, 2012

B.C., Canada: Water and Power security

Besides food, air, water and energy/power are important components of a population's survival.



"Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink."

Thankfully British Columbia, Canada, is blessed with lots of snow-melt fresh-water. The same is true of Alberta, B.C.'s neighbouring province, for we share the Rocky Mountains. [We may be biased, but JX and I agreed that B.C.'s water tastes better than Alberta's.]

Johnston Canyon, Banff, Alberta
Can you see the tiny people at the bottom of the photo?

A creek in Shannon Falls, B.C.
[Photo courtesy of my friend AA]

Hollyburn Trail, Cypress Mountain, B.C.
[Photo courtesy of my friend EM]
A thick blanket of snow that elevated us to tree-tops.
All this snow would melt into B.C.'s fresh-water supply.

IMHO, most British Columbians understand their reliance on the fabulous gifts from Mother Nature. Which is why the any economic activity that may threaten the pristine wilderness is watched over with hawk's eyes, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project (tar-sand oil pipeline from Alberta to B.C.). [Click here and here for news and views about the project.]



According to The BC Energy Plan, in 2004 B.C.'s total electricity production by source (% of total) is as follow.
  • Hydroelectric: 92.8%
  • Natural Gas: 6.0%
  • Waste and Biomass: 1.0%
  • Diesel Oil: 0.2%
  • Others [Coal, Nuclear, Other Renewables]: 0.0%
That was in 2004. B.C. has since added wind and more hydro (renewable) electricity generation. In fact, there are plans and projects in place to meet future energy demand (projection for the next 20 years) and the province's self-sufficiency targets under B.C.'s Clean Energy Act, with a focus on increasing sources of renewable energy. To quote from The BC Energy Plan, here are some of the province's key policy actions for energy security.
  • Maintain public ownership of BC Hydro and the BC Transmission Corporation.
  • Achieve electricity self-sufficiency by 2016.
  • Make small power part of the solution through a set purchase price for electricity generated from projects up to 10 megawatts.


B.C.'s air quality is good to excellent. [Click here for more information.] It helps that B.C.'s neighbouring countries/provinces, e.g. Alberta, Japan, Korea, etc, do not have a culture of slash-and-burn. Even then, B.C. has Plans for Improving Air Quality.


B.C. is blessed with environmental advantages for its survival. Nevertheless, it takes a lot of political will and advocacy to:
  • move towards renewable resources for sustainability, and 
  • ensure that policies implemented do not destroy its environmental advantages.
For that, we have B.C.'s liberal socio-political climate to thank.


  1. Envy your place. Here we burn shit into water and pay thru our nose for electricity. One day, we will go bankrupt.

    1. Hi Gintai,

      Thanks for visiting and your comment.

      In theory, the Newater and the Marina Barrage Water park are needed to support Singapore's water security.

      IMHO, Singapore needs to do more for its food and energy security. E.g. why are we not making use of ideas like solar energy (plenty of sunshine), tidal energy, wind energy, vertical agriculture (lots of tall high-rise) and urban agriculture. In comparison, urban agriculture is strongly encouraged in Vancouver to ensure food security and sustainability.

      But I guess the crux of the matter is as you've pointed out above. Singapore has sold its ownership of power generation and thus Singaporeans are paying "thru our nose" for the folly of the PAP government's decision. Everything in Singapore is about money, if one has money, anything can be done. In the process, the other values of social cohesion, building a national identity, defending the nation's security (and I am not talking about the grossly inflated defence budget for military defence alone -- anyone still remembers "Total Defence"?) are being traded off in exchange for spectacular GDP growth.

      > One day, we will go bankrupt.
      That is also my concern for Singapore.

      Thanks again for visiting and also for sending your readers my way regarding a "green frog". ;-) Actually my comment was posted on asingaporeanson's blog entry “新加坡人3000元工作,不干!” and not in my blog itself.

      Cheers, WD.

    2. You have given something to seriously think about. BTW, my brother is going back to Vancouver for two mths to visit his family. He will back to Sg again in Jan when Sch reopens. Thks.

    3. Hi Gintai,

      Thanks for visiting and your feedback. Sharing "food for thought" multiplies it. Glad to a muse for further, deeper thoughts. :)

      Cheers, WD.

  2. Hi Gintai,
    U no longer allow comments on your blog. Other than the chat session with the minister, i wonder if pressures from people at your workplace took a toll & closure of your blog.

    Superiors & higher management people might be envious & thus make things difficult.

    Though u & i are not anonymous on the internet i still support internet anonymity. Just use it for good like spiderman.

    Andrew Garfield compared his Spider-Man façade as a metaphor for internet anonymity, saying, "You feel the power of it, the power of not being seen, the power of the mask. Peter becomes witty when he's got that protective layer. It's like he's on a message board. He's got the anonymity of the Internet within that suit, and he can say whatever the hell he likes, and he can get away with anything."

    PAP has a big headache with the spidermans out there.

  3. Xianlong,
    Thank you for remembering me and my blog. I'm merely taking a break. Yes you just said it. No one wants a loose cannon around in the organisation. We are still very conversative and backwards on transparency. They just love to cover up things for fear of backlash. I read your blog. It's good. Keep it up. Cheers.