FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Statement from Living Waters Rally 2014
OTTAWA, ON (October 6, 2014)—The following statement is issued by Ecology Ottawa in collaboration with the attendees of the Living Waters Rally 2014, a biennial gathering of Canada’s freshwater leaders October 3-6 in Ottawa/Gatineau:
Canada’s waters are suffering. Lakes are choked by algae blooms. Rivers are overflowing their banks, with others dangerously close to drying up. Drinking water supplies are compromised. Struggling fish populations are often unfit for consumption.
Healthy, living waters are essential to the health and prosperity of our communities and the survival of all species. We are blessed in Canada to still have some of the world’s most pristine waters and thus a global obligation to protect them and to restore those waters that are suffering—before it’s too late.
This past weekend, 110 delegates of Living Waters Rally 2014—representing recreational, indigenous, faith, philanthropic, environmental, business and academic groups from across Canada—came together to discuss the future of Canada’s freshwaters.
The people of Canada deserve to know about the health of their home waters and, since many are increasingly at risk, need to be able to know which ones are healthy. We need regular, independent public assessment of and reporting on the health of our waters.
“In Ottawa, our rivers suffer frequent damage from sewage and stormwater overflows,” says Stu Campana, Ecology Ottawa Water Team Leader. “The impact on water quality isn’t always visible, which is why we need frequent and accessible reporting.”
Protecting and restoring the health of our waters will require leadership. Canada needs a legal and policy framework that sets a high standard of accountability and transparency.
Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, live in harmony with nature and place a spiritual and sacred value on water and have rights to maintain and strengthen their relationships with traditionally occupied lands and waters pursuant to treaties, aboriginal title and aboriginal rights. Hence, indigenous peoples engage in the movement to protect our waters.
We invite many more people and organizations to be engaged in the protection and restoration of Canada’s freshwater. We will build and strengthen the water movement to ensure that all our waters are in good health—swimmable, drinkable and fishable.