The well’s in danger of running dry by Danielle Droitsch, September 21, 2007, The Calgary Herald
Should a private water licence holder have the power to distribute and sell water? This is a decision facing the Alberta government with ramifications that could affect all of us. One of the greatest challenges facing Alberta is assuring that enough water is available to meet basic human and environmental needs. In southern Alberta, it is projected the population will double from 1.5 million to 3.1 million people over the next 50 years. Each person will need a certain amount of water for drinking, cooking, cleaning and sanitation. In addition to human water needs, there are also environmental water needs. Securing water for our rivers is critical for protecting water quality, fish habitat, and our overall enjoyment of this valued resource. The challenge is there is a limited amount of water available. If you add up all of the water that is needed now and in the future for people, industry and the environment, there isn’t enough to go around.
Something has to give. A great deal of Alberta’s water is already allocated through large water licences for irrigation and industry. Protecting these old licences does not provide us with any guarantee we’ll have enough water for our growing population or to ensure we’ll have a blue-ribbon trout fishery. The current system is propelling an unbalanced allocation of water — a precious and limited resource.
Access to water is a human right and maintaining basic ecosystem needs is critical for a healthy and livable environment. … At the end of the day, we need to realize that not all water uses are equal and you can’t drink hay.