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Across Canada and around the world, CUPE members and other activists marked World Water Day on March 22.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, CUPE members joined Oxfam and others to march through the snow, declaring “Water for people, not profit”, “Water is a human right” and “Harper water you doing?”

The day was renamed World Sanitation Day by Public Service International in recognition of the International Year of Sanitation 2008, as public sector workers everywhere rallied to defend public water and wastewater systems.

On 19 March, PSI supported CUPE members and community activists in Victoria, B.C., who denounced the planned privatization of a $1.2 billion sewage treatment system.

“This is the agenda of a pro-business government which is even selling the province’s energy infrastructure, despite knowing this to be bad policy,” said PSI staff member David Boys. “Bad for the environment, bad for the stability of the energy system, bad for households and bad for workers.” 

The next World Water Forum will be held in Istanbul in 2009 where public water is under the threat of outright privatization due to Turkish government policies.