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Council of Canadians drinking water report in the news

Emma Lui on Canada AM

Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui on Canada AM this morning.

Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui has authored a new paper titled On Notice for a Drinking Water Crisis.

The paper highlights that as of January there were 1,838 drinking water advisories in effect across this country and that with tar sands expansion, pipelines, mining, fracking, bottled water plants, climate change and agricultural run-off, we can expect even more advisories. That is especially because the Harper government’s omnibus budget bills in 2012 implemented sweeping changes to environmental laws and removed critical safeguards for water protection in Canada.

It has garnered considerable media coverage, including:

  • CTV reports, “Despite being home to seven per cent of the world’s renewable freshwater, a new report has found that thousands of Canadians were warned not to drink the water flowing from their taps this winter.”

  • CBC adds, “A new report on water quality says there are 155 boil or water quality advisories in Manitoba. …The report says water supplies in Manitoba are at risk from the Energy East pipeline in the south and the Keeyask dam in the north. It says Canada needs enforceable drinking water standards and must recognize safe water is a human right. The report also says Canada must ban bulk water exports.”

  • And the Canadian Medical Association Journal notes, “Although the locations of the water-quality advisories have shifted over the last seven years, the total number has changed little since 2008, when CMAJ’s investigation into water quality unearthed 1766 boil-water advisories across the country and highlighted Aboriginal and municipal leaders’ concerns about the state of this social determinant of health.”

There was also coverage of the report in the Winnipeg Free Press here and Yahoo Canada News here. To watch Lui interviewed on the CTV breakfast television news show Canada AM this morning (a program that has about 180,000 daily viewers), please click here.

The report has also received some political attention.

CTV reports, “Canada currently does not have legally binding standards for water quality, and the report labels the current water policy, which was passed in the late 1980s, ‘badly outdated’. …Health Canada said in a statement that it works with provincial and territorial governments to write the current guidelines in a way that will protect ‘the most vulnerable members of society, such as children and the elderly’.” And a Green Party of Canadian media release today states, “Elizabeth May supports the Council of Canadians’ call for the development of a National Water Policy to address the current drinking water crisis in Canada.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, “The current government is giving the green light to more resource extraction projects that endanger our water. At the same time, it has removed environmental safeguards. This creates a situation where companies can make unconstrained profits, but at the expense of the water we drink. In 2012, Canada endorsed the UN resolutions saying that water is a human right. We have to start acting like it if we want to avoid a future water crisis.”

To read the report, please click here.