Sierra Club Canada’s Prairie Chapter is calling on candidates and party leaders running in the federal election to act on water security.
The chapter says the prairies are a water stressed region and say leaders must come up with a plan to address the future of our drinking water, water withdrawal, and worsening droughts and floods in the region.
“These questions are front of mind as the Prairies were hit with this year one of the worst droughts in years,” states Lindsay Boucher, Prairie Chapter Coordinator for Sierra Club Canada Foundation. “These realities are complex and require holistic and realistic approaches with climate change included in decision making.”
Alberta and Saksatchewan are investing billions in modernizing and expanding irrigation. Environmental groups are raising concerns over competing water demands and impacts to downstream water quality. In addition, large-scale irrigation could increase land-use pressure to convert native prairie for agricultural purposes as well as incentivize wetland drainage to accommodate equipment.
“It is vital to work together to address climate change and protect watersheds and wetlands,” continues Boucher. “This election, we will be looking for commitments to protect and restore watersheds and for a comprehensive impact assessment of both the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects and the Alberta irrigation developments.”
Concerns over water security are heightened further with the added threats of coal mining and potential selenium poisoning in the prairie headwaters.