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California Drought: Former UN Advisor on Water Maude Barlow available for comment

California drought

Ottawa and Sacramento — Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown ordered cities and towns to restrict the consumption of water by 25 per cent to deal with California's drought. This has been an international story.

Maude Barlow, former UN Advisor on Water and bestselling author, says that this is an unprecedented move, but not surprising.

"For years, we have been facing a water crisis and our leaders – both globally and nationally – have been dealing with this threat very badly and without a plan."

In the Huffington Post, Barlow speaks about the California crisis in particular, saying that while California's drought is blamed on climate change, it is actually due to reckless exploitation of water resources.

"The drought crisis in California is not climate change per se, but the massive engineering of the state's water supplies to provide for a handful of powerful farmers. A huge amount of the state's water is exported as 'virtual water' embedded in export commodities."

Barlow adds that Canada could easily go down the road of California. In her recent report Blue Betrayal, she says the kinds of policies adopted by the Harper government are placing water at risk.

"Canadian policy has gone from a benign neglect of water to an outright dismantling of water protections. Canadians think that we are immune to water shortage because of our supply, but that is an illusion. We need to learn from what is happening in California."


Photo: California Drought – Laguna Lake, Flickr Media Commons, Doycent Joyce