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The for-profit approach to water ignores a basic fact of life: that access to clean, affordable water is a fundamental human right.

Illness caused by dirty water costs Canada’s health system $300 million a year. In countries without clean water, the cost is much higher: both children and adults die from water-borne diseases.

The deaths in Walkerton, Ont. and numerous threats to safe water across Canada have raised concerns about Canada’s own water systems. People in First Nations’ communities like Kashechewan, Ont., have had to leave their communities to escape dirty water.

In 2004, 97 per cent of Canadians surveyed by Ipsos-Reid agreed that “Canada should adopt a comprehensive national water policy that recognizes clean drinking water as a basic human right.”

At the United Nations, the Liberal government of Paul Martin twice refused to vote in favour of water as a human right. The good news is that despite Canada’s stubbornness, other countries in the UN Commission on Human Rights voted YES and the resolution passed.

We are in Year Two of the Water for Life decade that spans 2005-2015. Canada needs a federal water policy to deal with water quality problems, the explosion of bottled water, and the threats to public water that reduce the health and quality of life in communities across the country.

The following resources on clean water can help you protect public water.