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WATER BULLETIN
WATER BULLETIN
-a service of the Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus-

Events & Opportunities

1. Registration for MCDA’s December conference opens in July... keynote: David Suzuki
2. Employment opportunity: Red River Basin Commission seeks a North Basin Manager
3. Call for submissions:  International water film festival
4. Register now for FREE workshop: Learning Through Water Governance  June 18

News

1. New Drinking Water Well Rules, Fracking Okay?
2. Romantic Water Notions Not Reality Based
3. Water in Canada in long-term decline
4. Conservative opposition to Bill C-38 gutting the fisheries act
Events/Opportunities
 
1. Registration for MCDA’s December conference opens in July
December 3rd & 4th at the Keystone Centre, Brandon
MCDA’s Conference has grown throughout the years to represent the largest Annual
Conservation Conference in Manitoba. Come learn about watershed planning, surface
water management initiatives and sustainable landscapes administered by Manitoba’s
Conservation Districts. Featuring David Suzuki, Keynote Speaker David Suzuki
www.mcda.ca  for more details.
 
2. Employment opportunity: Red River Basin Commission seeks a North Basin Manager.  Find job description at http://www.redriverbasincommission.org/Conference/Staff/Employment/N_Basin_Manager_job_descript_5-30-12.pdf
 
3. Call for submissions:  International water film festival
Voices from the Waters- 2012  The 7th International Film Festival on Water 
Bangalore Film Society in collaboration with Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, SVARAJ, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF), Ithaca College, USA), Christ University, Bangalore, VISTHAR, Charter of Human Responsibilities, SAMVADA, Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy, YWCA Bangalore, Pacific Asia Resource Centre (PARC), Tokyo and Water Journeys - Campaign for Fundamental Right to Water are organizing the 7th edition of the biggest international film festival on water- Voices from the Waters 2012, only one of its kind in the world.
This festival has established its relevance over the last six years and consistently been receiving entries for the festival from countries across the world underlining the global concern for water. The festival is growing in stature year after year with more and more institutions coming forward to collaborate with us and take the festival across India and abroad through the year giving the film makers a chance to exhibit their works to a broader and diverse audience thereby enhancing awareness on water and environmental issues.
2012 does not present a rosy picture at the water front in India as we witness an increasing water scarcity. Climate change is being experienced in different ways: excessive rains to no rains in different parts of India wreaking havoc on normal agricultural activities, causing flood and droughts, cold and heat wave throwing normal life out of gear. This may as well be the case across the developing world. What is hopeful though is the increasing ‘green consciousness’ across the country to reconstruct a sustainable environment by rethinking development.
‘Voices from the Waters’ seeks to add to this consciousness as concerns regarding the existence and well-being of our waterbodies are now being voiced in the mainstream. Now more than ever, there is a call for awareness, dialogue and debate to inform the actions on which the future of our life worlds depends. ‘Voices from the Waters 2012 - the 7th International Film Festival on Water’ invites you to be a part of the festival by contributing short, documentary, animation and feature films on water and related issues.
Voices from the Waters is conceived as a travelling film festival. The selected films after being premiered in Bangalore will be taken across to educational institutions, non governmental organizations, small towns and villages across India for non commercial exhibition and discussions.
If you have a film under any of the following categories:

  • Water Scarcity
  • The Dams and the Displaced
  • Water Harvest/conservation
  • Water Struggles/Conflicts
  • Floods and Droughts
  • Global Warming and Climate Change
  • Impact of Deforestation on Water Bodies
  • Water, Sanitation and Health
  • River Pollution
  • The Holistic Revival of Water Bodies
  • Water and Life
You can consider sending it to us. Please note that the categories are flexible and your film does not have to necessarily adhere to them while focusing on the larger theme of water.
Guidelines:
Entries to the Film Festival must include:
1. Two DVDs of the film (with English subtitles, if required)
2. A completed and signed copy of the entry form
3. Three high-resolution stills of the film (can be sent via email)
4. A high-resolution photograph of the director (can be sent via email)
5. If you have already entered your film in the previous festival, please don’t send it.
Promotional materials are welcome
There is no entry fee.
All the submitted films will be subject to a selection process by the festival selection committee comprising of eminent professionals including documentary film makers, social activists, academicians et al
Applicant must pay for the shipment of films to Voices from the Waters.
All the submitted films will become part of Voices from the Waters library, one of the largest resources in the world for films on water.  
Last date for submissions: June 30th 2012
Address:
Georgekutty A.L
Bangalore Film Society
No.33/1-9, Thygaraju Layout, 4th Cross
Jaibharath Nagar, M.S. Nagar P.O
Bangalore 560 033
Karnataka/India
Contact Diana: +91-80- 25493705, Mobile: +91- 9986926103, +91-9448064513
www.voicesfromthewaters.com
 

4. Register now for FREE workshop: Learning Through Water Governance 
June 18 8:30am to 3pm at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg
Guest speakers include:
Fred Chevrie - Watershed Coordinator PEI and PEI Watershed Alliance
Steve Litke - Fraser Basin Council
Merrell-Ann Phare - Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources
Contact the Manitoba Eco-Network Water Caucus to register:   water@mbeconetwork.org  or  943-0318
 
 

News 
1. New Drinking Water Well Rules, Fracking Okay? 18 May 12 (from Manitoba Wildlands newsletter)
Manitoba Conservation & Water Stewardship Minister Gord MackIntosh introduced The Groundwater And Water Well And Related Amendments Act to the Legislature May 15, 2012.The proposed Act "puts in place new protections for water wells, specifically looking at qualifications for well drillers as well as protections in terms of the drilling and sealing of wells, and as well, formally recognizes in legislation the important role of aquifer management planning," said MackIntosh.Manitoba released a discussion paper on the proposed legislative changes in March and requested public comments online. Comments received have not been made public, and the discussion paper is no longer available on the Government of Manitoba webpage dedicated to the proposed New Groundwater Act and Strategy."This Government needs to understand that simply putting a discussion paper up on a website is not consultation. The comments received need to be shared in an open and transparent manner, and greater efforts need to be made to engage the public," suggested Manitoba Wildlands Director Gaile Whelan Enns. Whelan Enns also pointed out that new act deals only with drinking water wells. Wells drilled under the Manitoba's Mines and Minerals Act and/or Oil and Gas Act are specifically excluded from the new well rules. "Fracking is one of the biggest current risks to the safety of our aquifers," said Gaile Whelans. "If this government wants to get serious about aquifer management planning, then it needs to address the impacts that fracking has on water quality."
 
2.Romantic Water Notions Not Reality Based 18 May 12 (from Manitoba Wildlands newsletter)
The fifth annual Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Canadian Water Attitudes Study, conducted by international research consultancy GlobeScan shows that Canadians believe maintaining our drinking water supply is one of the most important areas for government funding (behind hospitals and tied with schools). The survey also finds water related issues has inconvenienced more than half of Canadians in the past two years. Yet the same survey shows a disconnect: more than 80 per cent feel there is no need for major and immediate investment in their community's drinking water/wastewater facilities. The level of confidence in the safety and quality of drinking water has increased, and more than a third of Canadians (37 per cent) who use municipal water are not very aware of the condition of the water and sewage infrastructure serving their own home. "We have been polling on water issues for 25 years. This survey is a tale of romance between Canadians and their treasured water. But there's a significant gap between romance and reality. We found a troubling lack of awareness not only about water conservation but also the very pressing need for investment in infrastructure." stated GlobeScan President Chris Coulter.
 
3. Water in Canada in long-term decline
Published On Wed May 16 2012
Some of the most unsettling evidence of climate’s impact is being experienced in the Great Lakes, where shifts from winter snow to rain, the loss of lake ice, which limits winter evaporation, and warmer days in summer are driving a long-term decline.
MARK BLINCH/REUTERS
Chris Wood
You’ve heard it before: Canada’s water is under threat. But a new report by a group of the country’s leading authorities on the subject should prompt a rethink of the familiar trope. The threat, it turns out, comes from our own actions, not the neighbours’, and from a quarter-century of increasingly feckless federal management.
The possibility of bulk water exports gets barely a mention in a new review of Canada’s water security. The real threats, the non-partisan Forum for Leadership on Waterargues, are a changing climate, growing human demands, water-borne complex chemicals and a “crippled” natural defence capability.
Southern Canadians have particular reason for concern: the amount of “renewable” water available to Toronto, Montreal and other major urban centres is showing a long-term decline. Between 1971 and 2004, water yield (roughly, what we get as precipitation less what we lose back to the atmosphere in evaporation) in southern parts of the country fell by 8.5 per cent. The decline almost certainly continues.
While climate and economic pressures on water are increasing, a two-decade drawdown of the scientific and legal resources essential to containing them now courts “serious economic and human health repercussions,” the report concludes.
Some of the most unsettling evidence of climate’s impact is being experienced in the Great Lakes, where shifts from winter snow to rain, the loss of lake ice (which limits winter evaporation) and warmer days in summer are driving a long-term decline.
But the forum’s authors draw attention as well to a century-long drop in summer flows of important rivers in the Prairie west, where authorities have capped further water withdrawals in some areas. Manitoba has experienced nearly back-to-back “once in a century” floods costing millions of dollars in damage and lost productivity.
Other threats are more directly man-made. Background chemicals in water supplies are a particular worry because of their ubiquity and potentially far-reaching effects. Most disturbingly, compounds that mimic the effects of natural hormones on human and animal development are leading suspects in a global epidemic of sexual anomalies.
Pediatricians in the United States and Britain have documented a rise in male genital birth defects. Biologists find similar anomalies in species from polar bears to alligators. In some stretches of Alberta’s Oldman River, males of a certain minnow species have almost entirely disappeared.
Other researchers, poring through birth records, determined that male-female birth ratios in Canada show a “clear shift” since the 1970s toward more girls. By 2010, the number of statistically missing boys had reached an estimated 850 unborn males a year.
The report described Ottawa’s schedule for assessing tens of thousands of industrial and pharmaceutical chemicals used in Canada as “behind the curve.” While “several hundred” compounds have been assessed, “thousands more” may not be reviewed before 2020. Many already identified as toxic remain in use awaiting regulation.
The real threats to the safety and sufficiency of our water demand a more sophisticated response than the human rights nostrums advocated by the xenophobic and anti-business Council of Canadians.
The Forum for Leadership on Water, which includes leading academics and retired senior public administrators along with representatives of the World Wildlife Fund and the corporately sponsored
EPCOR chair of a committee supporting the United Nations international “Water for Life” decade on its panel, earlier issued its own recommendations — pragmatic and non-doctrinaire — to better monitor and more inclusively manage water resources.
But these rely on federal agencies that are adequately resourced to meet the complex challenges of science and law they entail. As the forum’s latest report underscores, cutbacks initiated under the Liberal regime of Jean Chrétien and accelerated by the Harper Conservatives have slashed the legal and scientific capabilities of key federal departments like Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada by nearly a third.
In one aspect after another of water protection, from the failure to enact national standards for drinking water safety to the neglect of minimum environmental flows in rivers decades after both were called for, the forum’s experts condemn federal non-performance.
In a particularly telling illustration, they note that the U.S. has dedicated $475 million to clean up contamination on its side of the Great Lakes. Ottawa scraped together just $8 million in matching funds to clean up ours.
That’s exactly the same amount it budgeted to review the charitable funding of environmental groups — a rough gauge, perhaps, of where defending Canada’s water ranks on our current government’s to-do list.
Chris Woodis the author of Dry Spring: The coming water crisis of North America, and a forthcoming book on federal water policy.
 
4. Conservative opposition to Bill C-38 gutting the fisheries act    from Manitoba Wildlands newsletter
 
Conservatives Speaking Out Against Omnibus Budget 1 June 12
Opposition to the Canadian Omnibus Budget Bill (Bill C-38) continues to grow. The 425 page Bill C-38 amends, repeals, or in some cases completely replaces nearly 70 Canadian laws.
Four former federal fisheries ministers, two former Conservative fisheries ministers and two former Liberal fisheries Minister, have spoken against the changes Bill C-38 will make to the Canada Fisheries Act.
"They are totally watering down and emasculating the Fisheries Act," said Tom Siddon, who was fisheries minister for former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney from 1985 to 1990. "They are really taking the guts out of the Fisheries Act in devious little ways... they are making Swiss cheese out of it."
"How many people in the Finance Committee know anything about steelhead salmon on the West Coast of British Columbia? Where is Canadian industry being ground to a halt today if we take a few weeks to properly look at these amendments?" questioned former Conservative Fisheries Minister John Fraser, who represented Vancouver South, B.C. as Member of Parliament (MP) from 1972 until 1993.
"I'm not some left-wing loony. I'm a Conservative. I'm a real Conservative and nobody can pretend to be a Conservative if they are not a conservationist," said Fraser, adding that there will be a "political price" to pay if the government does not listen to Canadians.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May and the federal Liberals have jointly concocted a plan to delay the passage of Bill C-38 if the government does not agree to make substantial changes.
The Greens do not have official party status in the House of Commons, so Ms. May is not on parliamentary committees. As a tradeoff, she is permitted to propose an unlimited number of amendments to bills that have come back to the House from committees. "The aim is to create such a substantial logjam that the government will have to negotiate removing the environmental and other non-budgetary matters from Bill C-38." said May.