For the past few weeks the team at the WaterWealth Project has been out on the streets and buzzing online to gather your perspectives in our community survey and story map.
We’ve talked to hundreds of students, seniors, mothers, fishermen and business owners. We wanted to hear from you about your favourite watering holes, fishing spots and cherished memories of time on, in or near our fabulous rivers, lakes and streams. We also wanted to hear about changes you’ve observed to our water and the concerns you have for its future, and what you think needs to be done to protect it.
So what was the response?
Well no question, there is an overwhelming pride in our home waters and residents of the Fraser Valley region understand at an intimate and emotional level the amazing benefits we receive from our water wealth. It is clearly understood that the bounty of the steelhead and the trout runs, the abundance of the fertile lands nourished with groundwater, and the refreshing getaways at places like Cultus and Harrison Lake offer us benefits that make us unique in Canada and the rest of the world.
When asked what you thought were the biggest threats to our local water wealth, pollution and contamination were by far the most serious concerns. Whether it was the risks of oil spills from the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline, the addition of chlorination to our drinking water, polluted run-off from industrial agriculture, or the spread of viruses from open-net fish farms it was clearly apparent that local residents understand the need to keep our home waters as clean and pure as possible. Other common concerns included the impacts on fish and wildlife habitat from in-river gravel mining and privatized river diversion projects (also known as run of the river hydro).
When asked who would make the best decisions to safeguard the wealth of our home waters, the majority of you said it is those of us who are most directly impacted, and there was very strong support for more local control.
It was both insightful and inspiring to hear the depth of care and knowledge that we have in our communities for our precious home waters. And it affirms the results of a recent provincial opinion poll undertaken by McAllister Opinion Research that found that a huge majority of residents in BC (91%) believe that water is our most precious resource and protection of water quality should be of highest priority.
So where to next?
With the upcoming B.C. Election (May 14th is voting day!), the WaterWealth Project team is going back to the streets to amplify the concerns of all of you that care so much about our home waters. Based on what we heard from you, we have crafted a declaration to support 100% community control and asking people to vote for our water wealth. We will be collecting as many declarations as we can to show our political candidates how important the protection of our home waters is to all of us.
Obviously, we cannot do this without you. Here are some simple ways you can help:
Sign the Declaration – look for us on the streets or complete the declaration on-line.
Join a Vote Blitz - volunteer for one of our vote blitzes by signing up on-line.
Tell us why you care – complete our story mapping survey.
Spread the word – follow us on facebook, twitter, and tell your friends about us.
DONATE – if you share our vision, your support will help us achieve our collective goals.
Thank you in advance for helping to create this wave of support and flood our politicians with the message that they need to work for us and take a stance that protects our precious home waters!