On March 11, Vancouver City Council voted to adopt the Blue Community principles, making it the second largest municipality in Canada to become a Blue Community. This bold move for water protection came on the same day the Council of Canadians celebrated its 35th anniversary.
At the Council of Canadians, we’ve been working to secure these vital water rights through our Blue Communities Project since 2009, but with the looming climate crisis, the work is more urgent than ever before. The Blue Communities Project encourages municipalities and Indigenous communities to support the idea of a water commons framework, recognizing that water is a shared resource for all, by passing resolutions that:
- Recognize water and sanitation as human rights.
- Ban or phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events.
- Promote publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services.
The resolution was brought forward by councillors Christine Boyle and Michael Wiebe, and had the support of the Vancouver and District Labour Council, CUPE Local 15, 391 and 1004, and PSAC B.C.
We want to thank the Council of Canadians’ Vancouver Chapter and our supporters in B.C. who were instrumental in building support for the motion and sent more than 300 letters to city councillors in the lead up to the vote!
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs endorsed the Council’s Blue Communities Project earlier this year, connecting the fights for water protection with Indigenous rights. With Vancouver on board, one in four people in B.C. are now living in Blue Communities. Nearby Burnaby was one of the very first communities to turn “blue” on March 22, 2011 and the city reaffirmed its commitments on February 24, 2020. We are hoping this move will inspire communities across Metro Vancouver and B.C. to stand up and protect their water as well.
Close to 23 million people around the world, including residents of Paris, Berlin and Montreal, are protected by the Blue Community pledge at a time of looming water shortages worldwide. The United Nations anticipates a 40 per cent shortfall in water provisions by 2050 if leaders do not radically shift the management of water to prioritize the human right to drinking water and sanitation.
You can help turn your community “blue” and connect with other people interested in protecting public water by joining the Blue Communities Project.