Edmonton – Alberta Liberal House Leader Laurie Blakeman has released the following statement to mark World Water Day.
“Tomorrow is World Water Day 2014 and I want to mark this special date because water is the most important environmental issue in Alberta today. My Motion 515 asks this Assembly to urge the Government to designate all surface water and groundwater as a public good, prohibiting its sale to private individuals, organizations and corporations.
“Before I go any farther I would like to thank all those hardworking groups out there in Alberta who also make a splash to make water a priority.
“These include the Athabasca Watershed Council, Mighty Peace Watershed Alliance, North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, the Bow River Basin Council, Our Water is not for Sale, Sierra Club as well as the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and Protect our Water.
“I also want to shout out to the WPACs, the Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils who have been so abused, underfunded and ignored by most of Alberta’s Environment Ministers.
“The Government continues to drift along with water policy. The long-time-coming wetlands policy didn’t have any net loss rule. Instead, companies that destroy wetlands can pay into a fund to educate the public about the wetlands that they’ve now destroyed. As a result, I’m not holding out a lot of hope for the long awaited Water Policy and new licensing permits.
“The other really critical part of this is the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, in which only the land no one else wants for development, mostly mountain tops, are protected. These rocks above tree line areas do not provide the water storage, filtration, or flood control that lower areas do. The headwaters and stream protection of the Castle, Livingstone and the Porcupine Hills are critical and yet ignored and the still permitted clear-cutting in the Castle area has huge implications.
“Here’s hoping that by Water Day 2015, we’ll have something to celebrate and can raise a glass in a toast!”