LIVE RADIO SHOW, TRAGICALLY HIP CONCERT AND MORE, THIS WEEKEND IN KINGSTON
Friday, February, 22, 2008, Waterkeeper brings its weekly radio show Living at the Barricades to the Grad Club in Kingston, ON. Very special guests and musicians will join hosts Mark Mattson and Krystyn Tully for an exciting and inspiring live broadcast entitled: "Beyond the Barricades: The promise of a swimable, drinkable, fishable Kingston."
On February 6, 2008 the Canadian Water Issues Council released "A Model Act for Preserving Canada's Waters." This landmark discussion paper asks, "are there options available to Canada to deter bulk water removals that are both consistent with trade obligations and desirable from public policy objectives?" It answers the question with a resounding "Yes!"
Canada should not permit the bulk removal of freshwater from its natural basins: there is great consensus for this public policy objective; that is the foundation of The Model Act. The discussion paper and sample legislation show how the Canadian government could adopt policies that keep the country's freshwaters in their natural watershed.
The Model Act reflects concerns about growing and future pressures for freshwater. Competition is increasing in Alberta between urban communities, ranchers, and industry. Communities in southern American desert states are still growing. Groundwater supplies in and around the Great Lakes are becoming too contaminated to provide drinking water. Climate change is likely to compound each of these stresses.
The issue of water use is not just a Great Lakes issue - though environmentalists and government have spent much of the last five years negotiating and refining the Great Lakes Water Resources Agreements. Water use is not just an Alberta issue - though the province has incredibly fragile water supplies. And water use is not just a political issue, pitting Americans against Canadians.
What it is, this business of figuring out who gets to use Canada's water, and when, and how much, is an all-encompassing public policy challenge. And Canada's response will shape the face of this nation in the generations to come.
Imagine a country where we protect our watersheds by bringing people to the water, not shipping water to the people. Energy, transportation, agriculture, and industrial policies would all evolve to respond to settlement patterns. When we make protection of Canada's watersheds the guiding principle for planning and development, we create an opportunity to plan for long-term prosperity, rather than short-term exploitation. We protect the natural infrastructure that makes our communities wealthy and unique.
There is not yet a water crisis in North America, which is why the Model Act is so timely. We can act now, while our waterways still flow and before political leaders are asked to make the unfortunate choice between protecting one community's resources and quenching another community's thirst.
The Canadian Water Issues Council, in collaboration with the Program on Water Issues at University of Toronto's Munk Centre, conducts policy research on transboundary water issues. Contributors to the Model Act for Preserving Canada's Waters include:
- David Boyd
- Chad Day
- Adele Hurley
- Clifford Lincoln
- Mark Mattson
- Ralph Pentland
- Frank Quinn
- George Rejhon
- Owen Saunders
This week Living at the Barricades evaluates "A Model Act for Preserving Canada's Waters." Long Island Soundkeeper Terry Backer joins Mark Mattson and Krystyn Tully to gauge grassroots American support for prohibiting inter-basin export of Canada's water.