B.C. TAP WATER ALLIANCE
Caring for, Monitoring, and Protecting
British Columbia’s Community Water Supply Sources
Address: P.O. Box 39154,
3695 West 10th Ave.,
Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
WHAT ARE THE
FOR BRITISH COLUMBIANS
ABOUT THEIR DRINKING WATER?
PROTECTION OF DRINKING WATER SOURCES
The recent controversy about the government’s wrongful dismissal and then takeover of the Erickson Improvement District, the June 2002 Order-in-Council and transfer of its assets and water licences to the Regional District of Central Kootenay, and the unreasonable expenditure of public tax dollars for an unnecessary $11 million membrane filtration plant in anticipation of logging in the community’s drinking water source, are critical issues that need to be addressed and rectified. The manner in which it was done, the repercussions for community control over watershed administrative decisions, is a bad precedent for British Columbians. This issue is presented on our website.PRIVATIZATION OF WATER UTILITIES
Public concerns are mounting about emergent measures and rumours about private corporate control of water utilities throughout the world. The takeover of public water utilities is a real threat to “community control” regarding administration, costs, delivery, maintenance, and public information access issues. Lobbyists are pressing governments to initiate the introduction of legislative measures to achieve this questionable end.WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
For example, a September 13, 2002 article posted on the Centre for Responsive Policy website www.capitaleye.org (reproduced on our website), details the measures of the National Association of Water Companies, and its national affiliate, the H2O Coalition, to introduce clauses to United States Federal Bill H.R. 3930 (March 2002) that would necessitate public water utilities seeking funding through private corporations. These controversial clauses indicate that such initiatives are at our collective doorsteps. Communities, towns, villages, regional districts, and the provincial government should inform British Columbians of these issues, and protect the public’s water utilities from this threat.
British Columbians must have meaningful participation and shared decision-making powers over Crown Land planning processes related to drinking water sources. Unfortunately, government ignored public involvement through a provincial-wide Task Force on community watersheds (1972-1980), a process that established Land Act Watershed Reserves throughout the province, which government promptly ignored.ABOUT THE B.C. TAP WATER ALLIANCE
A new process, with teeth, needs to be established. British Columbians must engage their public representatives, at local, regional and provincial levels to activate such a process. You can remain informed and active on many of these issues by visiting the BCTWA website and by contacting us.
The B.C. Tap Water Alliance (BCTWA) was formed in 1996 by organizations concerned about protection of their drinking water sources. The reason for its formation was primarily linked to the common and seemingly insurmountable difficulties that local citizens, community organizations, and local governments have experienced in their long struggles to protect their watershed surface and sub-surface water sources. The need for a common voice was recognized.
Since that time, the organization has presented many extensively researched submissions to provincial, regional, local governments, and community groups strongly advocating protection of drinking water sources on behalf of all British Columbians. As a result of largely internal controversial changes to provincial legislation and policies that enabled the protection of drinking water sources, communities became the unfortunate victims of the government’s new agenda under the buzz words of “multiple use” and “integrated resource management”. That agenda excluded citizens and community representatives from meaningful participation in resource management decisions (“public involvement”) on Crown Lands.
The BCTWA’s submissions, reports, correspondence, press releases, etc., are all posted on its website, which is updated frequently.