Earlier this week the Our Water Is Not For Sale network released internal Alberta government documents revealing that independent environmental analysts and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans had raised concerns about the market-based water management plan for Alberta’s South Saskatchewan River Bassin (SSRB) in 2005. Email exchanges show that the DFO withdrew from the steering committee with the Alberta government after having sounded the alarm about the harmful impacts on aquatic ecosystems.
These discussions were never made public till now.
Council of Canadians board member, Bill Moore-Killgannon told the Edmonton journal: “These documents put the lie to all their PR spin, that water markets are about conservation. It shows they are moving ahead based on ideology rather than clear science and common sense.”
A founding member of the Our Water Is Not For Sale network, the Council of Canadians is working with our allies in Alberta to prevent the Alberta government from expanding a market-based water allocation system across the province. We are outraged that the DFO has remained silent despite recognizing the harmful environmental impacts of water rights trading in Southern Alberta. A market system allows for private interest to trump the rights of communities and the environment. The Assembly of First Nations has publicly declared water markets a violation of First Nations treaty rights.
The Edmonton Journal article, which also ran in the Ottawa Citizen can be read at: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Newly+released+documents+show+federal+government+odds+with+Alberta+water+conservation/5330685/story.html
To read a Council of Canadians backgrounder on water markets in Alberta, go to: http://canadians.org/publications/CP/2010/spring/water.pdf
If you live in Alberta, please sign the open letter at: http://ourwaterisnotforsale.com