Alberta’s water talks nothing more than a PR ploy, Alberta’s government urged to preserve water

Alberta’s government urged to preserve water by Catherine Griwkowsky, March 19, 2013, Edmonton Sun
The provincial government must preserve water as a public trust. That’s according to Shannon Stunden Bower, research director of the Parkland Institute. Stunden Bower will be speaking at a conference between the Council of Canadians and Parkland Institute called Protecting Alberta’s Water Commons: Challenges and Opportunities at the University of Alberta Telus Centre Room 134 on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. “Water is basic to all of us,” she said. “It’s absolutely necessary for life. There’s no life without water. We can’t get away from it.” Environmental challenges, the growing need for water, climate change and evolving governance are all challenging water. According to a release, the water reservoir levels are dropping, while pollution is rising. Meanwhile the demand for water from industry, agriculture and urban people is growing. She said the province needs to move away from water markets and move back to regulation of water in the public interest. Stunden Bower said the door was opened to the water markets through the Water Act. … “It’s just another means for the accumulation of profit.” Other speakers include Cindy Chiasson of the Environmental Law Centre and Rachel Notley, Alberta NDP environment critic. [Emphasis added]

Alberta’s water talks nothing more than a PR ploy by Jackie L. Larson, January 11, 2013, Edmonton Sun
Watchdogs are worried the government’s million-dollar “Water Conversation” will white-wash public consultations about Alberta’s water allocation system. Alberta Environment will hold three-hour meetings in 20 communities, but early government documents suggest a it’s a public relations effort, said Scott Harris of The Council of Canadians, a member of the Our Water Is Not For Sale network. “It seems as though this process is about putting a tick in the box to say that Albertans have been consulted, without allowing them to actually address the issues or influence policy,” said Harris. Attendees at each regional meeting will get 30 minutes total at each of five tables to discuss water management, hydraulic fracturing, drinking water, wastewater and healthy lakes, Harris said. Critics say the government’s own documents say “This is not a process to consult on policy.” Controversial plans for a province-wide market for water licences are on the table, Harris said. An attached earlier document said a “move to formal water pricing” was out of the discussion’s scope, but later versions replace that with “water for sale to the U.S.” “Sale of water to the U.S. is a red herring,” said Harris, adding Albertans deserve to know is if the government’s still planning a province-wide water market. The official opposition said the Tories may be avoiding key water issues. “With this government’s history of pre-determining the results of consultations, we need to know that these consultations will be fully open with all issues available at the table,” said Wildrose Environment Critic Joe Anglin. [Emphasis added]

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