Merritt Drought Scale

Water for the Future

Merritt Drought Scale

At the end of June, a hovering heat dome caused temperatures to soar far above normal ranges in many BC communities for days on end. With climate change models predicting more high temperatures and deepening draught conditions, many people are concerned about water scarcity, and there is an urgent need to assess and manage BC’s water resources. There is little information about watersheds in the province, which makes it hard to assess whether water resources are being properly managed. These concerns and others are underscored in a new ELC submission to the BC Provincial Government Water for the Future: Why BC Needs an Immediate Moratorium on New Water Bottling Licences.

Prepared on behalf of the Golden and District Water Protection Committee, makes five specific recommendations:

  1. Place a moratorium on new licences to extract groundwater for water bottling;
  2. Extend the moratorium on new licences for water bottling purposes at least until watershed-based governance is in place;
  3. Restrict water licenses for water bottling purposes to short-term licences only;
  4. Obtain the consent of Indigenous governing organizations before issuing new water licences; and
  5. Charge higher water rental for water extraction;

This problem is not unique to the Golden area. Communities across the province are alarmed at the increasing number of applications – even in arid areas – to commercially extract water for bottling and export. Our clients have joined with the Canadian Freshwater Alliance and others to support the ELC’s recommendations and to launch a provincial campaign aimed at raising awareness of the water bottling issue and providing interested citizens with information and tools on how to organize as individuals or communities in order to call for change.