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Last Updated:[24-03-2010 02:12:04 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Canadians Urge Export Ban and Human Right Status for Water

tradenews On the World Water Day, the Canadians have brought up the long pending issue of water regulation and export ban before Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prevent the country being wiped out of limited fresh water resources. The Council of Canadians has delivered more than 56,000 petitions to Harper's office calling for a National Water Policy that bans bulk water exports, protects Canada's fresh water resources, and recognizes access to water as a human right.

Furthermore, there was concerted effort from a broad-based coalition of organizations in Nova Scotia, a Canadian province, with similar demands urged its premier Darrell Dexter to immediately take actions to counter a number of water issues. The coalition with ‘Turn on the Tap and Ditch the Bottle’ slogan presented the provincial government, a costless three-pronged formula to protect water resources of the province.

The coalition head Danny Cavanagh lashed out at the commercialization of water by saying there is simply no excuse for using bottled water where perfectly good tap water is available. Likewise, Jocelyne Rankin of the Ecology Action Centre said Groundwater was inextricably linked to surface water and over-pumping could cause dramatic declines in water levels, affecting wildlife habitat and recreational and fishing opportunities.

Both groups have identified that water should be made as a human right which would empower citizens to contest on every abuse of this rare depleting resource. The recognition of water as a human right in international law would allow the United Nations (UN) to monitor the progress of states in realizing the right to water, and to hold governments accountable. The Canadian government has consistently opposed the recognition of water as a human right at various UN venues in the past.

According to sources, about 90 Canadians die every year from water-borne diseases, and it is feared if government continues to allow water exports citizens will be deprived of safe and clean water. Bulk water exports and diversions would leave Canada’s water vulnerable to environmental depletion and international trade challenges, which could permanently open the sluice gates to some of the parched US states. In water parlance, a country like Canada which is built on the myth of abundance of fresh water has in fact just one percent renewable water resources, and this seemed to have worked in favour to draw such a huge support for the cause.

By Jose Roy

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