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More than 220 Canadians from across the country met in Ottawa this past weekend to adopt a peoples agenda for water. With multinational corporations poised to own drinking water and sewage treatment, delegates called for action from the federal and provincial governments to prevent privatization and provide funding to upgrade and expand municipal water infrastructure.

Its too late once our water is privatized, when prices rise, the poor get cut off and the environment suffers, said National President Judy Darcy. Unless there is immediate federal assistance for municipalities in upgrading their systems, the Liberals will be partners in crime as Canadians are robbed of their most valuable resource.

Darcy noted a trillion litres of raw and partially treated sewage is dumped into Canadas water every year. We urgently need a major investment in public infrastructure to head off the threat of privatization and avert environmental disaster, said Darcy.

The summit declaration also calls for governments to ban bulk water exports and adopt a comprehensive water strategy that conserves and protects water ecosystems and public health.

Water is up for grabs despite Canadians wishes and the environmental risk, said Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians. The federal govern-ments plan to ban bulk exports is full of holes. It simply does nothing to prevent Canadas water from becoming a commodity for export.

We must end water pollution immediately and work to promote conservation, said Paul Muldoon, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association. Canada cant keep up its current level of consumption.

The Water Watch Summit was jointly organized by CUPE, the Council of Canadians and CELA. More than 70 CUPE delegates participated in the summit including representatives from local Water Watch committees, the National Contracting Out and Privatization Committee and Environment Committee.