Thursday, September 30, 2010

Five Billion People Face Water Security Threats

It's not just the Third World this time.   The U.S. and Europe are in the same boat.   A global study has found the world's rivers are so badly affected by human activity to threaten the water security of almost five billion people.   That's five billion out of the 6.7-billion people currently on the planet.   From The Guardian:

The study, conducted by institutions across the globe, is the first to simultaneously look at all types of human intervention on freshwater – from dams and reservoirs to irrigation and pollution. It paints a devastating picture of a world whose rivers are in serious decline.

While developing countries are suffering from threats to both water security and biodiversity, particularly in Africa and central Asia, the authors were surprised by the level of threat posed to wildlife in rich countries.

"What made our jaws drop is that some of the highest threat levels in the world are in the United States and Europe," said Prof Peter McIntyre, one of the lead authors, who began the project as a Smith Fellow at the University of Michigan.

Canada is much better off than most countries but we don't deserve any credit for our good fortune.  As Maude Barlow points out in Blue Covenant:

"A leaked 2005 Environment Canada assessment of the state of Canada's water for then environment minister Stephane Dion was a scathing indictment of the government's water policies.  'Clean, Safe and Secure Water: The Need for Federal Leadership,' meant only for the minister's eyes, said that a water crisis in Canada was looming, but that no one is in charge."

Unfortunately, we've entrusted the security of our own fresh water to the petro-pols of Parliament Hill, a gaggle of misfits, morons and slackers.   The hard part is that the Tories are only marginally worse than the Liberals in protecting the country and our people.


cyberclark said...

The Federal Liberals' Mr. Ignatieff has betrayed the rank and file Liberals by endorsing Bulk Water Exports to the US under a NAFTA agreement; contrary to Liberals Policy. He is known to have spent much of his time in the US and is very Pro US in his thinking, pandering to the US while deceiving his Canadian voter base.

Pundits place Mr. Ignatieff as being a professional lecturer in politic with absolutely no experience under foot. This leaves him very prone to gaffs and water may well be the biggest of them all.

The NDP is the only political party in Canada that is against turning water into a commodity by exporting it to the US!

If we export water under NAFTA rules (which are inherently unfair and biased towards the US), we must give the Americans first chance at the water and we cannot charge the Americans more money than we are now paying.

The higher prices are pushed on Canadian water to Canadians, the higher the exporters can charge for the water going to the US. This is simply price fixing on a grand scale!

Harper has enabled legislation on water that brings it all into one pail while at the same time throwing the export responsibility over to the Provinces.


The Mound of Sound said...

Unfortunately CC, the NDP have zero prospects of forming a government anytime soon. The Greens understand that which is why they would prefer to ally with the LPC if only they would get a shred of integrity on the environment. It's truly sad that under the leadership of Harper and Ignatieff, the CPC and LPC are morphing into the Republican and Democratic Parties of Canada. But don't tell them that, they're all worked up into a lather over really critical stuff like the long-form census.