For many faiths water is a sacred element.
It has been used in a thousand different ways since the dawn of human time.
Life cannot exist without it.
So how sobering a thought it is that we here on Prince Edward Island are metaphorically floating on a raft of fresh water in an ocean of salt.
P.E.I.’s fresh water supply is entirely supplied by groundwater.
If something happens to that supply. Game over.
Islanders would have to either invest in hugely expensive desalination plants to replace our supply or pack up shop and head for the mainland.
This reminder of water’s importance is notable because the government of Prince Edward Island is set to bring in a Water Act.
This act will, presumably, encompass any and all rules and regulations for accessing and utilizing this shared resource.
Premier Robert Ghiz and his government should be commended for doing this.
Frankly the fact this gaping hole in our legislation has been overlooked for so long is stupefying.
Ah well, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
In any case, this act has now been proposed and work on it will soon start, if that hasn’t happened already.
Those doing the writing need to keep some things in mind.
They would have done well to be in Stanley Bridge over the last couple of days, where a meeting of the Atlantic Province’s agrologists were discussing all things water.
Many of the professionals in attendance, scientists, environmentalists, business people, etc. were deeply concerned about the future of the Island’s fresh water supply.
Some asked why current and past recommendations by scientists have yet to be implemented, other’s questioned the validity of what science has already been done and still more lamented the politicizing of the issue.
Several people questioned whether or not this water act will be a slapped together affair – a token move to kick the proverbial can of debate further down the road.
One visiting businessman from the United Kingdome commented that in his country, they’ve been fighting over water rights for 10 years.
So how is P.E.I. supposed to do that in a year? Or however long the province expects to take to write this document?
These are all valid concerns.
We can’t afford to ignore them.
Our future on this Island depends on them.