At present, BC's rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater do not have adequate protections to ensure local residents have water wealth for the long-term. In fact, right now, mutli-million dollar corporations like Nestle in Hope, BC are draining millions of litres without paying a cent. Nestle is one of many companies that can access groundwater for free in BC, and the issues of water protection go beyond just the absence of groundwater regulation.
We must see an overhaul of the BC Water Act to regulate the use of groundwater, ensure recognition of Aboriginal Rights & Title, take into account the effects of climate change, and ensure guaranteed flows for our rivers, lakes and aquifers.
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- Premier of BC
Hon. Christy Clark
- MLA Chilliwack
- MLA Chilliwack-Hope
- BC Minister of Environment
Hon. Mary Polak
Re: Overhaul of the BC Water Act to ensure strong protection of our home waters.
As you know, water is something that constituents are proud of in the Fraser Valley. This was clearly demonstrated by the public outrage to the news that Nestle has been extracting 265 million litres of groundwater for free in Hope. Similarly, the results of the City of Chilliwack Official Community Plan Survey identified protection of streams and drinking water as the number one policy priority, with 97% support. Furthermore, this pride is expressed in the nearly 2,000 local residents who have signed the WaterWealth Declaration.
I am writing you to support the overhaul of BC’s outdated water laws to ensure more effective protections of our lakes, rivers and streams. It is critical that improvements be made for long term water sustainability. And it is essential that Aboriginal Rights & Title be respected and that First Nations are meaningfully involved in the planning of new legislation.
Please demonstrate your commitment to a new and robust Water Sustainability Act for BC, supported by free, prior and informed consent from First Nations, by:
- Creating water laws that improve the protection of ecological values, provide for more community involvement, and include incentives to be water efficient;
- Implementing legislation that recognizes water flow requirements for ecosystems and species;
- Taking new approaches to water management that address impacts from a changing water cycle, increased drought risk and other impacts caused by climate change; and,
- Regulating groundwater use in priority areas and with regard to cumulative impacts and large withdrawals.
The wealth of benefits that come from our living, healthy, free flowing water systems is essential for a strong, secure and robust province. Please heed our request to be the champions we need you to be for BC's water wealth.
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