Canada Water Week and World Water Day Media Release

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BC’s largest recreation and conservation groups seek to engage British Columbians as well as political parties in taking action on water and river issues in lead up to May’s provincial election.

 

For Immediate Release- March 20, 2017

VANCOUVER- March 22nd marks the twenty-fourth United Nations World Water Day. In honour of World Water day and Canada Water Week, the Canadian Freshwater Alliance and the Outdoor Recreation Council - which collectively represent hundreds of thousands of British Columbians and freshwater organizations across the province--are joining efforts to call on all British Columbians to join the water conversation, take action, and get involved to defend water.

Freshwater in British Columbia supports diverse ecosystems, a vibrant economy, spaces for recreation and drinking water for millions of people. However, despite the fundamental importance of water to every aspect of life, waters in B.C. are facing unprecedented threats from industrial activity, population pressures and a changing climate.          

With the B.C. Provincial Election less than two months away, this message is a timely one.

“Promoting and generating such discussion is important in that many British Columbians view the proper care of rivers, and our water resources in general, to be among our most pressing environmental issues” said Mark Angelo, Outdoor Recreation Council Rivers’ chair and founder of both BC and World Rivers Day.

B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act provided a unique opportunity to protect water in the province. However, despite the Act having being  passed nearly three years ago, significant gaps remain in its implementation.

Coree Tull, Canadian Freshwater Alliance Organizing Director, said “We need to make water an election issue to ensure that British Columbia’s next government will take action to implement and enforce robust rules to protect our waters.”

The Freshwater Alliance has launched the Our Water BC Campaign calling on British Columbians to pledge to vote for water. The campaign creates opportunities for community members to get informed, engaged and vote for candidates who prioritize freshwater protection.

Both the Freshwater Alliance and the Outdoor Recreation Council, working with groups such as the BC Wildlife Federation, the Federation of BC Drift Fishers, Watershed Watch Salmon Society and many others, have put forward water and river-related policies they hope the political parties will include in their party platforms. Key among these is the need for a major new Watershed Sustainability Fund and to secure safeguards for appropriate water levels, known as environmental flow needs, in the Water Sustainability Act.

Details on the group’s policy expectations can be found at www.freshwateralliance.ca/owbc_resourceslisted under #2. Letter of Expectations for local candidates: "Effective Implementation of The Water Sustainability Act" and  #5. Outdoor Recreation Council Proposed River Policies for Political Parties - including information on the proposed Watershed Sustainability Fund.

About the OUTDOOR RECREATION COUNCIL (http://orcbc.ca):

Founded in 1976, ORC works on behalf of about 40 provincial member groups, representing more than 100,000 individuals, as well as the general public, to protect the outdoor recreation way of life in BC. ORC is the only organization that represents the interests of the full range of public outdoor recreation users of BC's lands and waters.

About the CANADIAN FRESHWATER ALLIANCE (freshwateralliance.ca/our_water_bc):

The Canadian Freshwater Alliance builds, connects and supports freshwater initiatives across Canada. We work with NGOs, community groups, governments and businesses to strengthen citizen voices and participation in protecting our lakes and rivers. The Freshwater Alliance’s ‘Our Water BC’ Campaign, is a coalition of organizations, groups and individuals united in our efforts to leave a legacy for waters in British Columbia. We are a project on the Tides Canada shared platform (http://tidescanada.org/).

 

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact

Mark Angelo, Outdoor Recreation Council, markangelo@shaw.ca, 604-294-3066

Coree Tull, Canadian Freshwater Alliance, coree@freshwateralliance.ca, 778-846-9050


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