Towards a Citizens’ Statement on Water (SK)

From the Saskatchewan Environmental Society:

If you are interested in participating in a process to help create
progressive water protection and governance policies for Saskatchewan,
please plan to attend the following meeting in Regina:

Friday June 9, 2006
Classroom building, University of Regina
Classroom 305
1:30 PM to 4:00 PM

Meetings in Saskatoon are scheduled for May 31 and June 1 and North
Battleford and Prince Albert meetings are in the planning stages.

(Please circulate this notice to others, thanks)

At this Regina session, and at similar sessions in other centres, we will hold informal, round-table discussions to get your input into a Saskatchewan Citizens’ Statement of Expectations on Water Protection and Governance. Our hope is that we can create a consensus document that will be supported by many organizations and that can serve as a blueprint for local and provincial governments and help move them toward improved water protection and governance legislation and policies.

In preparation for these sessions, we will circulate a discussion version draft of a Saskatchewan Citizens’ Statement of Expectations on Water Protection and Governance; you should receive that in the coming days. If you do not, please contact me at darrinq@environmentalsociety.ca or visit the Environmental Society website to get a copy. The draft will include a set of headings and policy points on which we can build at
the round-table sessions.

It would be great if people could let me know that they’re coming. That way, if many people want to attend, we can add an additional session to keep numbers workable. Thanks.

Background

At the late-March water conference in Saskatoon organized by the
Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES), many people expressed an interest
in contributing energy and thought to drafting a consensus document on water
protection. As a result, the SES is now coordinating the formulation of a
¡ÈSaskatchewan Citizens¡Ç Statement of Expectations on Water Protection and
Governance.¡É The hope is that citizens and organizations will come
together to create a clear, concise statement of citizens¡Ç expectations on
issues such as:
– Wetlands protection;
– Water exports;
– Water conservation;
– Source water protection (protecting watersheds in order to protect
drinking water quality and quantity);
– Water pricing and allocation (commodification vs. the human right to
water);
– Water diversions; and
– Drinking water safety and the prevention of contamination by chemicals and
other toxins.

The late-May/early-June consultations in several centres are one part of a
broad-based initiative will include several steps:

– Meetings and consultations to develop a Statement of Expectations;
– Work to expand and link together the network of Saskatchewan citizens and organizations working on water issues;
– Additional consultations and finalization of the Statement of Expectations;
– Efforts to gather sign-on from a wide range of organizations;
– Presentation to government; and
– Continued work as government policy is developed to ensure that local and provincial government policies reflect the wishes of Saskatchewan citizens.

The Statement of Expectations process has worked very well in Ontario. In that province, organizations led by Canadian Environmental Law Association and Environmental Defence created an Ontario Source Water Protection Statement of Expectations (focused slightly more narrowly-on watershed protection in the context of drinking water purity). The Ontario document exists in both long and short forms and can be accessed at their website.

In the wake of the North Battleford water crisis and in the face of growing uncertainty about water supplies and quality, Saskatchewan governments at all levels are working to create new policies on water allocation, protection, conservation, and security of supply. Our Statement of Expectations process is an important initiative to provide focused citizen leadership to governments as they formulate these important policies.

I hope that you can participate in this process and I look forward to working collectively with many Saskatchewan citizens and organizations.

Thanks

Darrin Qualman
Water Issues Coordinator
Saskatchewan Environmental Society
(306) 492-4714
darrinq@environmentalsociety.ca

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