The Water Sustainability Act, also known as Bill 18, was introduced as of February 29th, 2016. Its primary purposes are to ensure the sustainable supply of clean fresh water to the residents of British Columbia. It is the foremost law protecting the province’s water resources. It also has a focus on the future sustainably of water in BC (WSA).
The key changes made in the act’s refurbishment are a repeal of the Fish Protection Act (FPA), new fees for water use, non-domestic groundwater regulations, and dam safety. The act provides clear and simple definitions of all the terms used (WSA). The WSA replaces the province’s previous one hundred and five-year-old Water Act. When the old act was created British Columbia’s population was only 350,000, in the following century it has grown to 4.6 million (RT International). This growth in population has placed a pressure to revisit the provinces’ aging rules and regulations regarding water and water resources.
In 2013 the Canadian government held a public comment period on the development of the new act. A social action organization called the Council of Canadians had several key features the water act should include. The first being water should be a basic human right that cannot be privately owned and controlled. Secondly, it must recognize indigenous titles and jurisdiction to watersheds. It should also contain a groundwater approval process including,...
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...illion litres of water at $2.25/million liters, Nova Scotia’s rate is $140.00/million liters and Quebec’s is $70/million liters (RT International). The value of water in the British Columbia is not high enough to provide any kind of protection. It also makes the province a desirable place to set up fracking for liquefied natural gas which uses excessive amounts of water. In 2013 alone, 7 billion liters of water were used for fracking and with the projected increase this could increase 500% or more (Fumano). This growth is not sustainable and will negatively affect the communities and watersheds around the LNG plants.
Water is arguably the most under valued resource in British Columbia but also the most crucial to life. While the Water Sustainability Act is a step in the right direction towards sustainability compared to the previous Water Act it is not sustainable.
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