We currently manage groundwater with a blindfold on. We lack a full understanding of how much we have or how withdrawals affect the health of our surface rivers, lakes and streams. And yet, much like a bank account, we have to manage our groundwater wisely: we can’t withdraw more than what goes in. Otherwise, we could become the next California or Cape Town.
The community of Merville in Comox Valley on Vancouver Island relies on an aquifer for their drinking water. Impacts of climate change are already being felt by residents as water shortages become more common during summer droughts. Yet, a conditional water licence has been issued by the Province of BC to allow the extraction of up to 10,000 litres of freshwater per day for a commercial bottling operation. We wouldn’t make daily withdrawals from a bank account without knowing the balance. Why do this with our most precious asset, our freshwater?
K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) expressed disappointment that the Province did not properly consult, and has come out in strong opposition to the water extraction licence. Community members are concerned that cumulative impacts to the aquifer and surface water flows are not adequately known, or accounted for as part of the licensing process. Residents haven’t had access to an aquifer study that was done in support of the Province’s approval.
It is time for British Columbia to take the lead in showing transparency and accountability in protecting our aquifers, rivers and lakes. Send your letter below to show you stand in solidarity with the community of Merville and K’ómoks First Nations. Together we have the power to defend our shared waters.
Please consider visiting the Our Water BC website for information on sending a letter to the Honourable Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development here.