A new report card gives the Harper government an F for its poor record on drinking water protection.
The Ecojustice report gives the federal government a failing grade for its “unequivocally dismal” performance including:
- Inaction on the drinking water crisis in many First Nations communities
- Forcing municipalities seeking water funding to privatize – a move the report calls “putting ideology before public health”
- Deep cuts that limit Environment Canada’s ability to monitor freshwater quality and quantity
Waterproof 3 makes it clear water and wastewater services in Canadian urban centres are “among the safest in the world”, and highlights the improvements that would ensure small, rural, remote and First Nations communities enjoy the same right to safe drinking water and sanitation services.
Front-line water workers are called out as “unsung heroes” for their hard work and dedication protecting Canada’s drinking water.
The report focuses on protecting freshwater sources – streams, lakes or aquifers that supply drinking water systems – as the fundamental first step in delivering safe drinking water, and grades the provinces on their water protection measures.
Unprotected source water, climate change and government cuts are the “greatest emerging threats” to Canada’s drinking water, and aging infrastructure isn’t far behind, according to Ecojustice.
But there’s hope in a powerful new tool, the formal recognition of the human right to water – a right Canada has finally recognized after years of opposition. Waterproof 3 outlines the obligations Canada must now meet, starting with a national water strategy that ensures all Canadians have full and equal access to safe, clean drinking water and sanitation services.