June 15 , 2007

Water shortages likely in Hamilton without collaboration: study

Hamilton, ON - Hamilton’s problem-plagued groundwater system, which faces shortages, possible contamination and overuse, cannot be fixed without greater collaboration between local community organizations and regional/provincial groups, a new study from McMaster University has found.

The study, authored by Mario Levesque, a graduate student in the department of political science, cited many problems including supply shortages, contaminants - like fuel and oil - leaking from underground storage tanks, and several quarry proposals and expansions that threaten the availability of groundwater for many Hamilton residents.

“Certainly, a major issue facing the region is the future expansion of gravel pits,” says Levesque.  “Current quarry plans as well as future ones will place increased and negative pressure on local groundwater resources.  Simply put, many local water wells may go dry or have dramatically reduced capacities.” 

And while the conflict between quarry mining and protecting groundwater resources will likely intensify, the report suggests more efforts are needed to reduce demand for water supplies within the wider community.

“In this study, we provide comprehensive scientific and social scientific evidence about major groundwater issues in the City of Hamilton, particularly how those problems need to be addressed by government and user groups,” says Mark Sproule-Jones, and advisor on the study and the V.K. Copps Chair of Urban Studies at McMaster University.  “It is the first of its kind in Canada, where successes, problems and solutions are suggested.”

The full report is available at http://www.socsci.mcmaster.ca/polisci/grad/levesque.cfm and was funded by a Gordon Foundation Water Policy Fellowship and sponsored by Dr. Mark Sproule Jones, V.K. Copps Professor of Urban Studies at McMaster University.

McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 125,000 in 125 countries.