Earlier this week, city council members in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan considered a request from the local Council of Canadians chapter to become a Blue Community.
Blue Communities 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 and promote publicly financed, owned, and operated water and wastewater services.
According to an article in the Prince Albert Daily Herald, while the committee of city councillors said no to the idea of banning bottled water in municipal buildings and at municipal events, it left the door open to reconsider this decision in the future. The city plans to phase in water refill stations while it phases out bottled water.
Council of Canadians Prince Albert Chapter representative Nancy Carswell reminded city representatives that water is a shared resource that should be available for everyone and not in the hands of private corporations. She said she is worried that increased use of bottled water will lead to water shortages.
“Water cannot be business as usual,” she said during a presentation to city council members. “We all need to preserve water as a commons and we need to reverse any present enclosure. We ask that [our city] become a full Blue Community and ban bottled water at facilities and events where tap water is available.
Several councillors spoke in favour of the Chapter’s proposal saying the city should not be prioritizing making profit off the sale of bottled water.
The Council of Canadians, the Blue Planet Project and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) initiated the Blue Communities Project in 2009. Eau Secours is a partner on the Blue Communities Project in Quebec. The Blue Communities movement has grown internationally with Paris, France, Bern, Switzerland and other municipalities around the world going “blue.” Schools, religious communities and faith-based groups have also adopted principles that treat water as a common good that is shared by everyone and is the responsibility of all.
Read more about the Blue Communities Project and learn how you can turn your community blue!.