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Barlow defends groundwater against deep-well irrigation on P.E.I.

Leo Broderick and Maude BarlowThe Guardian reports, “A national water advocate is lending her voice to a growing coalition of Islanders who believe lifting the moratorium on deep-well irrigation would be devastating to the P.E.I.’s water supply. Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, took part in a news conference in Prince Edward Island Wednesday denouncing deep-water wells for agricultural irrigation unless it can be proven beyond doubt it would not hurt P.E.I.’s groundwater supply.”

Photo: Council of Canadians vice-chairperson Leo Broderick and Barlow in Charlottetown yesterday. Photo by the Guardian.

Barlow told the Guardian, “P.E.I. is dependent on its groundwater. We have to say no to opening up this moratorium until there’s absolute proof, and that is going to take democracy and that’s going to take consultation, and the industry just cannot just come in and say it’s a done deal. …We have to be very, very sure that anything we do with water and to water and any withdrawals of water are for sure not going to hurt the future capacity of the watersheds. And there are far too many scientists and environmentalists and hydrologists who disagree with the assessment of the government for anything to move ahead right now.”

“Barlow also shared her concerns with Premier Robert Ghiz in a meeting Wednesday morning.”

CBC adds, “The Council of Canadians hosted a public forum Wednesday evening on P.E.I.’s water supply at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel.”

Maude talks to CBC News
Photo: Barlow speaks to CBC News.

Barlow told CBC News, “P.E.I. is dependent on its groundwater. It has not been properly mapped, there is no proper conservation or long-term water program here. It’s just a kind of everybody dips their straws in and let’s hope it’s OK, and it’s not good enough. If that’s wrong and that groundwater isn’t there or it’s being contaminated, future generations of Islanders are not going to have the water, nor are the farmers.”

In addition to the meeting with the province’s premier, the media conference, and the public forum, “The national head of the Council of Canadians was on P.E.I. Wednesday to announce the formation of a new coalition of groups concerned about protecting the province’s water supply. …The new Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water includes a number of groups: the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance, the Sierra Club, District 1, Region 1 of the National Farmer’s Union. The new coalition will make a presentation Thursday to P.E.I.’s standing committee on agriculture, energy and forestry.”

Photo: The audience last night. Photo by Maude Barlow.