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Canadians call for funding commitments to realize human right to water

The water chapter of the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB), A Budget for the Rest of Us, calls for the federal government to carry out their international legal obligations on the human right to water and sanitation by committing $ 9.336 billion to critical water services.

The water chapter highlighted the UN’s recent recognition of the human right to water and sanitation.  On September 23, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) passed a resolution (A/HRC/18/L.1) on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and called upon governments to develop comprehensive plans of action to progressively realize this right, monitor the implementation of these plans, ensure adequate financing and provide legal remedies for violations.

Canadians are concerned about water in Canada. The AFB water chapter proposes real action on water and the environment and shows with the rest of the AFB that protecting the environment is good for the environment and for protecting jobs.

The AFB calls for a total of $ 9.336 billion in spending in water-related areas this year including:

  • $4 billion to be invested in a National Public Water and Wastewater Fund;
  • $1 billion for implementing national standards for municipal sewage treatment and wastewater effluent quality;
  • $1.6 billion to build, upgrade and maintain water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nations communities;
  • $500 million to implement a comprehensive action plan to protect the Great Lakes;
  • $140 million to rectify the proposed cuts to Environment Canada, specifically to water resources and substance and waste management program activities;
  • $3 million to identify and map Canada’s groundwater sources and coordinate a strategy to prioritize water use, introduce stricter regulations on the bottled water industry and ban bulk water exports;
  • $2 million to incorporate public input in the federal reviews on fracking;
  • $1 million to complete a comprehensive review on virtual water exports from Canada.

“The budget is critical moment for Canada to fulfill their obligations under the human right to water and sanitation,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians. “Communities across Canada badly need funding to protect water sources, provide public drinking water and sanitation services and learn more about the impacts of fracking and mining on water sources.”

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has been coordinating the AFB since 1994 with the participation and support of researchers, activists and leadership from a broad spectrum of civil society organizations representing millions of Canadians. The Council of Canadians has written the water chapter for the AFB since 2009.

The water chapter can be read here and read more about why Canada needs a National Water Policy here.

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