Thursday, May 13, 2010

Canadian water 'belongs to Canadians'

Bulk water exports prohibited under new U.S.-Canada border regulations
Vancouver Sun: The bill [tabled in the House of Commons] would 'plug the last remaining gap' in a ban against bulk water removal that is in place for the Great Lakes and other water that straddles the Canada-U.S. border and is covered by provincial law. The bill provides new powers of inspection and enforcement and fines of up to $6 million for corporate violations. The exception is to help forest fire fighting or other disasters in the United States.

'This important legislation makes it clear that we are not in the business of exporting our water, [Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence] Cannon said. 'Canadian water is not a commodity. It is not for sale.'...

'Canada's fresh water is essential to the well-being of our nation,' he said. 'It is our livelihood, our lifeblood, and Canadians want this vital resource safeguarded. Quite simply, it belongs to Canadians and with this bill the government will ensure that it is protected and held in trust for generations of Canadians to come.'...

Environment Canada: Canada has some 20% of the world's total freshwater resources. However, less than half of this water -- about 7% of the global supply -- is renewable. Most of it is fossil water retained in lakes, underground aquifers, and glaciers.

For Canada's 30 million people -- about half a percent of the world's population -- this is still a generous endowment. But more than half of this water drains northward into the Arctic Ocean and Hudson Bay. As a result, it is unavailable to the 85% of the Canadian population who live along the country's southern border. That means the remaining supply, while still abundant, is heavily used and often overly stressed.
Image sources here and here.