Thursday, March 13, 2014

 

Opinion

Unsustainable

Muxlow says revised Water Act doesn't go far enough

Released by Sheila Muxlow, Dir. WaterWealth Project, Chilliwack

 

fter more than 100 years, it is encouraging to see the B.C. government respond to public concern over fresh water by introducing the new B.C. Water Sustainability Act.

 

We are pleased to see that B.C. will finally regulate the use of groundwater and recognize that sufficient environmental flows are essential to the well-being of communities throughout the province.

However, this Act is still only a broad framework and the government has decided to defer many of the details to future regulations. It is critical that BC residents stay engaged in the process to ensure that the legislation has some teeth and isnít another false dawn.

One aspect we are disappointed with is the failure to adequately recognize First Nations rights and title. Moving forward, it is clear that any efforts to govern water must involve leadership from First Nations who have been stewards of fresh water in this province for thousands of years.

We also know that the government lacks the resources and internal capacity to implement and enforce this Act. It is absolutely essential that the government reform the pricing of industrial water use in B.C. to ensure that large corporations like Nestle are no longer taking us for a ride and that water is being used sustainably. British Columbians have until April 8th to comment on principles for water pricing and we will be working with local communities in the Fraser Valley to ensure that their voices are heard.

The timing of this legislation coincides with Canada Water Week which runs March 17th to 23rd and World Water Day on March 22nd. In the Fraser Valley, the WaterWealth Project is hosting a number of events for people to get to know their home waters - we will be sure to include information on Bill 18 and the importance of speaking up for robust water protection. We have a lot to be proud of in B.C., including some of the most beautiful and productive rivers, lakes and streams in the world. By pushing for world-class legislation to protect water we have an opportunity to keep things that way.

 

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