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Democratizing our Prairie Waters

New coalition asks public, in a series of 10 regional forums, what they expect from governments to protect prairie waters

September 27, 2007 

Lethbridge – This week a new coalition of environmental groups is seeking to hear citizens' expectations for water management by hosting 10 public forums across the Prairie Provinces.

Made up of the Sierra Club of Canada — Prairie Chapter, Manitoba EcoNetwork, Saskatchewan Environmental Society, and Bow Riverkeeper, the Prairie Water Coalition came together under recognition that an expansive river network that provides water to communities, farms, industries and ecosystems connects the Prairie Provinces. The groups point to the need for more cross-border collaboration and cooperation to protect the regions vital waters.

To stimulate community, provincial and inter-provincial dialogue on water management, the Coalition has released a draft Citizens' Declaration. The forums will seek citizens' views on expanding a discussion document outlining key expectations for the government management of water across the region.

"The Citizens' Declaration seeks to unite a region in making clear our expectations for the protection of water across Prairie Provinces," says Lindsay Telfer, coordinator of the project and Prairie Chapter Director for the Sierra Club of Canada. "Increasingly, there are competing demands being placed on limited water resources across this region. It is imperative that governments from the Rocky Mountains to Lake Winnipeg hear what citizens expect in managing this vast and important water system."

"Rapid growth and high demand on our over-allocated rivers in Alberta is making it difficult to share our water with other Albertans, our downstream neighbours, and our shared ecosystems. With these pressures and irrigation holding the largest allocations of water, how can we best ensure all needs are met?" stated Meghan Beveridge from Bow Riverkeeper. "We expect government to move forward on watershed protection, assure instream river flows, and pass on sufficient, steady and clean flows to neighboring provinces."

This fall, alongside regional and provincial supporters, the Prairie Water Coalition will be hosting 10 regional forums. The forums will feature a proposal for a statement of expectations that outlines a framework for the sustainable management of water across the region. Participants in the regional forums will have the opportunity to discuss in depth the expectations, and consider strategies and actions to help bring about the necessary changes.

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Contacts

Lindsay Telfer, Sierra Club of Canada: 780-710-0136 (cell phone)
Meghan Beveridge, Bow Riverkeeper: 403-538-7785

To view Prairie Citizens' Water Declaration, visit: http://www.sierraclub.ca/prairie/water_forum.htm

If you are unable to attend a forum but would like to send over your comments on the discussion document - please do! Comments can be sent directly to us at lindsay [at] sierraclub [dot] ca

Alberta Tour Dates and Locations

September 25th - Lethbridge, AB
University of Lethbridge
Students Union Building - Ballroom
6:30-9:00pm

October 2nd - Edmonton, AB
University of Alberta
Lister Conference Centre, Prairie Room
6:30-9:00pm

October 3rd - Red Deer, AB
Kerry Wood Nature Centre
6:30-9:00pm

October 4th - Calgary, AB
Kahanoff Centre - #201
1:30-4:00pm

Posted September 28, 2007 by Anonymous

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