Fresh water is the lifeblood of British Columbia. Our streams and rivers connect communities, provide our drinking water, irrigation for the food we eat, and are locations for recreation and relaxation. But across the province, our freshwater resources are being threatened and destroyed by mismanagement and industrial activities that operate with a lack of oversight and repercussions. Water bottling facilities take millions of litres of our ground water for pennies. Mining companies extract resources, pollute our streams, kill our fish, and we pay for the cleanup. Meanwhile, communities across the province are threatened by a spectrum of issues, from flooding to drought, contamination of drinking water, to ongoing boil water advisories. Currently, over 100 First Nations communities are under boil water advisories, and some have been for over 20 years.
To ensure that current and future British Columbians have access to clean, safe drinking water, we need to have a plan.
That’s why Watershed Watch, in partnership with other allies, has launched CodeBlue BC, a plan to secure and sustain BC’s fresh water sources for generations to come.
The CodeBlue BC plan has three parts:
1. Get tough on water wasters and polluters. Good resource development should never degrade our watersheds, or waste our fresh water. Tougher rules, better enforcement, and stronger penalties will make resource companies clean up their act.
2. Make big industrial users pay. Our water is priceless, and most British Columbians agree it should never be sold. However, B.C.’s system of water licences lets big industry pay pennies to use our water, while British Columbians are stuck cleaning up the messes they leave behind. This needs to change: it’s time to make industrial users pay the true cost of using B.C.’s water.
3. Give local people control over local water sources. B.C.’s water sources should be owned and managed by the people who know them best and need them most. By providing local people with the funding, training and authority to look after their water sources, we can create surge of good jobs in every corner of B.C.
Add your support to CodeBlue BC and help us pressure Premier Horgan to protect our fresh water sources and the watersheds we all depend on.
Since its launch in 2019, support for the CodeBlue BC initiative has grown exponentially with a growing list of champions from different sectors and regions across the province that support the campaign. Last month, we hosted our first Facebook live event with Toni Boot, Mayor of Sutherland, and Aaron Sumexheltza, lawyer and former Chief of the Lower Nicola Indian Band joining Canadian Freshwater Alliance’s Coree Tull. They discussed issues they face in their home watersheds and their vision for the future of freshwater in B.C.
You can check out a recording of the live stream below, and if you have any stories you would like to share, please add them to the comments below!