By Amy Juschka

Water is one of our most precious resources. Canada boasts one-fifth of the world’s freshwater, a quarter of its remaining wetlands and its longest coastline. The thousands of interconnected rivers and lakes across our country, each brimming with history, culture and ecology, provide life’s essentials for people, animals and ecosystems.

Canada recognized the right to water at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012. Yet it fails to live up to that ideal here at home.

Canada has weak rules governing drinking water and lacks rigorous, enforceable water quality standards. Instead, it relies on a patchwork of provincial water policies (enshrined in law by some provinces but not others), which jeopardizes people’s health and compromises clean water for future generations.

It’s time for the Canadian government to recognize our right to water at the national level. That’s why we’re coming together on World Water Day (March 22) to call on the federal government to pass an environmental bill of rights that will protect, respect and fulfil our right to water.

Why the right to water?

Access to clean water is a fundamental pillar in the right to a healthy environment. Countries like Finland, Uruguay and Greece have already used environmental rights legislation to protect marine biodiversity, limit overfishing, stop destructive dam projects and protect indigenous peoples’ right to clean drinking water. This World Water Day, communities across Canada will call for strong federal leadership on the right to clean water, through a gold-standard federal environmental bill of rights.

Here’s what we’re asking:

  1. Respect our right to clean water: Pass a federal environmental bill of rights to recognize our right to a healthy environment and hold water in the public trust for future generations.
  2. Protect our right to clean water: create legally binding national standards for drinking water quality and set long-term targets and timelines for water pollution reduction.
  3. Fulfil our right to clean water: reinforce the mandate to address the drinking water crisis in Indigenous communities, establish a Canada Water Fund to foster the clean water tech industry and create a robust national water quality and quantity monitoring system.

How to take action leading up to World Water Day

We’ve organized a suite of simple actions you can take leading up to World Water Day (March 22). Start with the first action and work your way down the list! Everything’s more fun with friends, so be sure to share these actions with your networks. (Want to learn more about water rights in Canada? Download our World Water Day Organizer’s Toolkit.)

  1. Sign the Blue Dot pledge: Will you stand with the groundswell of people across Canada who are calling on all levels of government to recognize our right to a healthy environment (including the right to water)?
  2. Join our #WaterIs THUNDERCLAP (follow the link or sign up below!): Social media is an easy way to say something, but it’s a difficult way to be heard. We’re using this awesome “crowdspeaking” platform to make a social media SPLASH for water rights.
  3. Change your profile picture and use the #WaterIs hashtag: Show your support for the right to water in Canada by adding our World Water Day design to your profile pic. Check out our social media posts below and don’t forget to use the #WaterIs hashtag!
  4. “Like” Blue Dot’s Facebook Page: As a member of our Facebook community, you’ll get the latest news from the movement, connect with other like-minded people and get exclusive opportunities to take part in contests, events and other fun stuff.
  5. Watch the water rights webinar: Register for our March 12 webinar (12pm PST) to learn more about water in Canada — what’s at stake, what we’re asking for and why it’s important.
  6. Write a letter to the editor (using our simple tool): Keep an eye on your email and social media for the March 14 launch of our simple online tool to help you write a winning letter to the editor on water rights in Canada. We’ll supply you with talking points to help you craft your letter and, with the click of a button, you can send your letter to a list of publications you choose. Check out these tips on how to write a winning letter to the editor and watch out for our March 14 launch via email and social media.

P.S. – Let’s THUNDERCLAP for water rights! With the click of your mouse you can join thousands of other Canadians as we send a coordinated social media blitz on World Water Day.