Easy to take water for granted

An outfit called the Council of Canadians is calling on the federal government to come up with a national policy on water.

Your first reaction might be: ‘You mean there isn’t one already?’

Actually there is, but the C of C says it’s 30 years old and badly out of date. Drinking water standards, for example, are “legally unenforceable.”

Further, the feds should declare surface and groundwater a public trust. It calls for a strategy to address the pollution of water and a ban on bulk water exports. Finally, water should be excluded from all trade agreements.

Whatever one might think about the Council of Canadians (E.g. some of its members have been noted for anti-pipeline activism), the idea of securing Canada’s water is a sound one. If the alternative is simply taking for granted that its abundance and availability will last forever…..well, that does seem reckless. If water is just another commodity, it could eventually end up going to the highest bidder. That could be a corporation or – even more likely – a certain huge country that can’t easily be resisted.

Canada needs to be ready for a future in which water is scarce and extremely valuable.

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