2007-03-25 Water: Lessons For Canada, Report 2, Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy
Report 2, Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, Lessons For Canada ROSEBanffFinal2 , forum held in Banff. Scroll down to EXCERPTS.
(Report 1, Rosenberg Report for Canada 2007-03-14 Water: valuable & important document, Rosenberg Report) an assessment of the “Water for Life” project of Alberta Environment.)
Below might explain why today, Agri-Food Canada is still running a program to further expand the export of water (on-going, at the very least since 1995).
The National Water Supply Expansion Program – – sounds a trifle hubristic! Like, we’re running out of water. We’ll just expand the supply. (And sell it in all those parts of the world where they’re running out.)
CONNECTED to ROSENBERG REPORTS: BRIEF UPDATE re NORTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER.
- CLARIFICATION RE TAR SANDS
The Alberta Government Report on the Tar Sands (circulated earlier) noted that studies had not been carried out in relation to the potential use of water from the North Saskatchewan River for planned expansion of the Tar Sands.
It is not that the North Saskatchewan River would be diverted to Fort McMurray. The text said “in the industrial heartland” referring to Edmonton which sits on the North Sask River. The planned expansion of the Tar Sands development carries with it an expansion in the refining capacity in Edmonton. The Report noted that there have been no assessments to determine whether there is enough water in the North Saskatchewan River to meet the increased demands for water. (The Athabasca River in Fort McMurray may not have enough water for the Ft McMurray part of the expansion.)
- PROPOSED HIGH GATE DAM UPDATE: People banded together and stopped this attempt to create “equity interests in water“.
The NATIONAL Water Supply Expansion Program (one part of which is the “Canada Saskatchewan Water Supply Expansion Programme) (Ag Canada) is the funding source for unsound direction on water management in Saskatchewan.
IF TRUE FOR ONE PROVINCE, people in other provinces should be looking at it, too.
The National WSEP (Ag Canada) was started under the Liberals. I don’t think it’s a mistake that “The Saskatchewan Water Supply Expansion Program” is the only provincial segment mentioned on the National web-site.
Ralph Goodale, MP from Saskatchewan was Minister of Agriculture and later Minister of Finance. Red Williams is one of the long-time Liberal backroom boys (he tried unsuccessfully 3 times to get elected). Red is the President of Agrivision Corporation. Red’s “Drought-Proofing the Economy” Conference featured pre-recorded big-screen video presentations (personal congratulations to Red) from both the Prime Minister of Canada at the time (Paul Martin) and the Minister of Finance (buddy Ralph Goodale). Agrivision (Red) receives funding for its work through Government programmes.
Because the Conservatives inherited the NWSEP funding programme from the Liberals, because it is Government money flowing to Liberal interests, once the intolerable aspects of NWSEP are pointed out, the Conservatives may be willing to axe it.
This second Rosenberg Report provides good ammunition for challenging the NWSEP.
(Ag Canada page, link no longervalid http://www.agr.gc.ca/env/index_e.php?section=h2o&page=sk)
The Rosenberg Report stresses the need for a “holistic” approach. It documents the lack of data (which we have also found). There is no data on cumulative human withdrawals from underground aquifers.
“Water Supply Expansion” programmes are a recipe for THE CREATION of future water shortages, if they are done in ignorance of current and un-coordinated cumulative withdrawals. Not difficult to figure out. The funding should be stopped. Instead the money should be used for the data that the Rosenberg Report identifies is missing – so we actually have a clue about what we are doing.
Nor is it acceptable that Agriculture Canada is merrily handing out money to groups outside Government to make decisions about the water supply.
Programmes about water DO NOT belong inside the Department of Agriculture.
The Rosenberg Report also identifies that we urgently require a new ethic.
From the experience with what is happening around the North Saskatchewan River, another unacceptable feature of the “due process” that happens when responsibility for water is handed outside Government through funding programmes such as this National Water Supply Expansion Program (Ag Canada):
– the “public consultation” meetings did not include a presentation of what “the plan” is,
– nor would it have disclosed WHO is behind the study, except that the audience became unco-operative
– the public consultation meetings have been carried out by “Partner Investors” in the corporation (Agrivision) from whom I first heard about the High Gate dam proposal. The Partner Investor conducting the meetings is the accounting firm Myers Norris Penny.
– this is all done with $370,000 of tax-payers’ money.
It is impossible to have due process with the conflicts-of-interest. We must insist that the Government takes back its responsibility, accountability for, and regulatory function vis-à-vis water in Canada.
The information meeting in North Battleford (on North Sask River, near the site of the proposed High Gate Dam) last week (organized by community interests) was a great get-together, well attended and with new people.
The Annual General Meeting of the group behind the “water storage options” (the proposed High Gate Dam) for the River is this week (Thursday). People from the community are planning to attend.
There is work on public meetings for Prince Albert – downstream interests that are excluded from consideration in the preliminary feasibility study for the upstream “water storage” options.
People in attendance at a REDA (Regional Economic Development Assoc) meeting were told that Phase 1 of the “water options” study is completed and that the consultants are now moving to Phase 2 (the completed study is due in November). There are many people who wish to read the Phase 1 Report.
I’ll circulate information on access to the Report when it is known.
This Rosenberg Report, again, gives us what we need to insist that the Governments get it right on water. As a society and for the future, we cannot afford to get it wrong.
PLEASE ensure that this Report is widely circulated.
In the words of the song, “Raise a little hell.”!!
EXCERPTS FROM Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, Report 2
My sincere thanks to the authors, a report in layperson language!
These excerpts are not necessarily the best fruit in the Report. I haven’t finished reading it.
“Canada is not as advanced as it might like to believe in terms of the adequacy of its public policies related to water supply and quality assurance. … an absence of reliable and commonly useful data and widespread examples of inadequate foresight and management of water … gaps …
The longer we wait to make the changes, the more difficult they will be.
“Heavy reliance on surface water storage which dominated water management strategies in the twentieth century created a variety of adverse impacts …
New management paradigms … urgent need for a new water ethic.
“Prairie provinces should control the emissions of greenhouse gases to reduce the warming that causes increased evapotranspiration and glacial loss as well as limit the growth of populations in the dry parts of the Saskatchewan River basin so as not to exacerbate water scarcity
“Snow making uses enormous amounts of water even compared with irrigation … it is highly unlikely that the ski areas of Alberta will be exempt from the kinds of occurrences that continue to plague the Alps.
But read the Report yourself, for an understanding of what we need to be doing. What I know for sure: we must INSIST that Governments make informed, intelligent and right decisions. /Cheers! Sandra
Thank you for your call. Here is the Rosenberg Forum summary relating to lessons for Canada and Alberta. You can surmise much of the Saskatchewan concerns by examining the Saskatchewan River Case Study.
(Note: Bob is author of “The Wonders of Water“. He is Chair, United Nations Water for Life Decade, Canadian Partnership Initiative. The list of his contributions to us doesn’t end there.)