Ashling Amato

National water plan sought

Access to clean water is nothing less than a human right, says Derrick Callan, chair of Council of Canadians Red Deer chapter.

Access to clean water is nothing less than a human right, says Derrick Callan, chair of Council of Canadians Red Deer chapter.

Yet the availability of water is threatened everywhere — whether pumped into oil wells by fracking companies, wasted by the bottled water industry, or endangered by loose environmental regulations, said Callan, who was at Red Deer College on Tuesday to raise awareness about the resource as part of World Water Day.

The Council of Canadians has urged the federal government to adopt a national strategy on water and update a federal water policy that is already 30 years old.

While many look at Canada as having an almost limitless supply of fresh water, only one per cent of fresh water is renewable, says the council.

To protect this vital resource, the council wants water to be recognized as a human right, which would allow the United Nations to monitor governments’ handling of water.

Bottled water is an xample of the waste of the resource, said Callan. It takes about two bottles of water just to manufacture the ubiquitous plastic bottles, and another to fill it.

“That’s an enormous waste of water. We believe people should use refillable water bottles and carry those around,” he said.

Besides the information table at the college’s forum, a showing of the award-winning documentary film Bottled Life, which takes food and beverage giant Nestlé to task for its water bottling practices, was to be shown in the evening.

Ashling Amato was among those to stop by to talk about water and her idea to stage a celebration called Love H2O.

She envisions an event at Bower Ponds featuring speakers, musicians, First Nations representatives and fun activities for the younger set.

It could be capped off with a moment of prayer for one of our most valuable resources.

Amato, 29, plans to pitch her idea to the council at its next meeting.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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