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Barlow calls for a Marshall Plan for water in Colorado speech

Event poster

Poster for Barlow’s event in Colorado.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke in Colorado last night.

The Vail Daily reported, “As part of the Women in Philanthropy Distinguished Lecture Series, international best-selling author Maude Barlow will speak about the global water crisis and the solutions needed to avoid a worldwide water shortage. The free talk will take place Wednesday evening at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. Barlow’s lecture [is titled] ‘Blue Future: A Marshall Plan to Protect Water and People Forever’… The event is free and open to the public and is underwritten by Women in Philanthropy members Doe Browning and Kathy Borgen.”

The Marshall Plan was a large-scale rescue program in which the United States gave $13 billion (about $160 billion in current dollar value) in economic support to rebuild the war-devastated economies of Europe and Asia after the end of World War II.

Barlow has commented, “There is an urgent need to create a ‘Marshall Plan’ for water. Key components would include watershed protection, conservation and restoration; national and community programs to replenish water-retentive landscapes; watershed sharing and governance; models of food and energy production that do not harm water; the prevention of eutrophication; consideration of the impact on water of trade agreements; and the need for strong local, national and international commitment to put water protection at the heart of all laws and policies.”

In terms of the local context, the Wall Street Journal has reported, “Colorado has long relied on the ‘prior appropriation’ system, which grants water rights to the first person to take water from a river or aquifer no matter where they live. …The state’s first water plan acknowledges that current usage patterns are unsustainable. …Colorado’s plan notes that the western side of the Continental Divide holds 70% of Colorado’s surface water and just 11% of its population. The eastern side consumes 70% of the water. …The plan seeks to ease rifts between Colorado’s water-rich, less populated Western Slope and the dryer, faster-growing Front Range by calling for more conservation and water storage, and fewer large-scale water projects.”

For more about our global water justice activism, please see the Blue Planet Project website here.