----- Original Message -----
From: Sandra Finley
To: sabest1@sasktel.net
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 7:12 AM
Subject: Water: Thirsty Uncle looks north & Baltimore Sun, Lack of Water hinders growth de

Many thanks to Hart Haidn for (1) and to Elaine Hughes for (2).
A thirsty Uncle looks north
It's not the crude: What the U.S. most needs is our water. We must not let
it flow through our hands, says former Alberta premier PETER LOUGHEED

Friday, November 11, 2005 Page A19, Globe & Mail

I predict that the United States will be coming after our fresh water
aggressively within three to five years. We must prepare, to ensure we
aren't trapped in an ill-advised response. It would be a major mistake for
Canada to handle this issue badly. With climate change and growing needs,
Canadians will need all the fresh water we can conserve, particularly in the
western provinces.
I've been involved in this issue for years. In the early 1980s, when I was
Alberta premier and worked with the knowledgeable Henry Kroeger, then
Alberta's minister for water management, he convinced me that we should
transfer water from Alberta's more northerly rivers to the dry areas in the
southern and eastern parts of our province. When we took the proposal to
caucus (we held almost every seat) we were shocked by the aggressively
negative reaction.
I learned then that water is an emotional political issue; I was usually
able to get support from the caucus -- but not when it came to fresh water.
As Alberta premier, I'd travel to Washington each spring to lobby U.S.
senators for market access to our surplus oil and natural gas (we finally
obtained this access through the free-trade agreement). I became friends
with the U.S. senator from Washington state, Henry "Scoop" Jackson, who was
chairman of the Senate's energy committee. He visited Alberta and was the
first senior elected U.S. official to recognize the potential of the oil
sands. One evening "Scoop" asked me what I knew about Section 21 of the
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Next to nothing, I responded. He
convinced me that it would be a great positive for Canada to take advantage
of Section 21 of GATT and secure a free-trade agreement between Canada and
the United States.

I took this idea up at my final first-ministers' conference in the spring of
1985, and proposed the concept to then prime minister Brian Mulroney. As
history records, he quickly adopted the idea. (The Macdonald Royal
Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada was
coming to the same conclusion). The free-trade agreement was negotiated with
President Ronald Reagan.
After I left government, I worked with the Business Council on National
Issues (now the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) to help implement the
FTA. Remember, Canada was a supplicant in this matter. In the spring of
1987, a number of us were in Washington making the pitch for the FTA to a
group of senior senators. At a crunch time, Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas
asked us whether fresh water should be included in the deal. It was quite a
moment: I bent down to tie my shoelace, one colleague dropped his book,
another colleague dropped his pencil. The moment passed; another senator
changed the subject. Fresh water was not included in the FTA. (Had we been
pressured, the Canadian strategy, as I recall, was to reject the inclusion
of water, but we would have had to trade something else of major value in
Fast forward to today. I spend time in Arizona and observe the dryness, the
barren riverbeds and the constant concern about water shortage there and in
neighbouring states, including California. I talk to a lot of people about
water. My political instincts tell me that some time soon water availability
is going to rise to the top of the U.S. domestic agenda and the Senator
Bentsen of the day will say: "What about Canada? They have lots of excess
water and we have the free-trade agreement. Let's demand they share their
water with us."
With the population and political shift from the U.S. northeast to Texas,
Arizona, Nevada and California, what has not been on the agenda soon will
be. My strongly-held view is, we Canadians should be prepared to respond
firmly with a forceful "No. We need it for ourselves!"
Why should we not export fresh water?
There are many compelling reasons. Water is essential to our life and its
supply is not always certain. Water is essential to our food production, and
why increase our dependence on foreign food supplies? Water can be a
determinant in job location; let's bring good jobs to Canadians. Finally, if
there is an acceptable way for inter-basin transfers, let's confine such to
So, how can Canadians prepare for this thirst for our water?
1. Governments and their departments of environment must put out current,
reliable data and encourage the exchange of data across Canada. We must
include the entire 49th parallel as well as the Great Lakes, which have
their own important water issues.
2. The federal government House Leader should join with other house leaders
to hold a special "water debate" in the House of Commons no later than next
3. The provincial governments through their premiers should move the water
issue to the forefront and prepare for legislative debates next spring,
perhaps on a resolution framed as: "Should we export any of our fresh water
to the United States?"
4. The first ministers planning secretariat should plan for a late spring
meeting with the water issue specifically at the forefront.
5. Private sector research groups across Canada should pick up on the Canada
West Foundation's January 2005 report Balancing Act: Water Conservation and
Economic Growth (the export issue is targeted on page 16).
6. Environmental groups and business associations should form an alliance to
pressure political parties to make the water issue a priority.
No doubt there will be a significant segment (I'd guess a minority) who
either believe the water issue is overblown or that bulk water sales to the
United States should not be discouraged. My sense is that once they are
alerted to the probability of a U.S. grab for our fresh water, most
Canadians will react as the Alberta government caucus did in the early 1980s
when they told their then premier: "Get lost!"
I hope that when the time comes, Canada will be ready. The reality is that
fresh water is more valuable than crude oil.
Peter Lougheed is a former premier of Alberta.

Lack of water hinders growth
Fewer new sources slows development; projects moving away from towns

By Mary Gail Hare   Sun reporter    November 6, 2005

Water shortages and burdened public facilities are deterring development
throughout Carroll County, but particularly in areas where officials are
trying to encourage growth.

A lack of new water sources is curtailing residential and industrial
development in Taneytown. New Windsor and Hampstead cannot add more homes or
businesses until they expand wastewater treatment plants. Future development
in South Carroll, already the county's most populous area, depends on the
success of several new wells and millions of dollars in upgrades to the
Freedom Water Treatment Plant that will take at least two years to complete.

After Mount Airy drilled a dozen test wells and failed to find more water,
town officials are considering a developer's offer to build a reservoir fed
by water from the South Branch of the Patapsco River.

The problems are sending growth from established communities into outlying
areas, where homes are spread across farmland, on large lots with private
wells and septic systems, officials said.

"If developers cannot build in the towns, we are going contrary to what the
county's plan is for growth," said Edwin Singer, director of the county's
Bureau of Environmental Health. "We want to focus growth around the towns."

The Health Department reviews building projects in relation to available
water capacity and decides whether the supply is adequate. If the supply is
deemed insufficient, a town has to look for more water.

"Smart growth and environmental issues are sometimes in conflict," Singer

No jurisdiction can drill a public well or expand the water system without
appropriate permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment, an
agency that monitors public water and wastewater systems.

Commissioner Dean L. Minnich said federal and state restrictions on water
resources "are painting us into a corner. They call for smart growth and
then we can't build around towns because of inadequate facilities."

And finding more water is becoming increasingly difficult.

In Taneytown, new projects hinge on increasing the water supply. The city of
about 6,300 had to agree to repairs to its system, conservation measures and
capacity-management programs before the state would allow an increase in the
draws from town wells. But even those increases are not enough.

"We are basically at the end of our limit for drawing water," said James
Schumacher, Taneytown city manager. "Our situation is the most dire of the
towns, because we are close to reaching maximum allocation."

In December, the MDE and Taneytown will meet to review the city's water
allocation. Other municipalities in Carroll and elsewhere also are
bargaining with the state over their water-use permits and calling for
increases in the groundwater allocations, set by the state.

The state and town of Mount Airy will allow CVI Development Group to look
into construction of a small reservoir, fed by waters from the South Branch
of the Patapsco River.

If the estimated $14.5 million project moves forward, it would be at the
developer's expense.

"Surface water could be a good option for us," said Mount Airy Mayor James
S. Holt. "Without it, we won't see any more economic development. We are
already over our limit with MDE."

The county commissioners said the reservoir proposal runs counter to
Carroll's master plan, which has long included a large reservoir fed by the
Gillis Falls - a plan federal officials have rejected repeatedly.

As long as surface water is available, the county will have difficulty
building the Gillis Falls Reservoir, said Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge.
Even a much smaller reservoir could push the county's project further into
the future.

"This plan goes completely against ours," Gouge said.

According to the Mount Airy developer's proposal, water would be pumped from
the river and impounded in a reservoir.

In a letter to the MDE, the county commissioners stated their concerns with
the project, particularly pollution. The developer's proposed watershed lies
in a substantially urbanized area that includes Interstate 70 and a railroad
line, both with relatively direct runoff to the river.

The county has previously rejected the river as a water resource, calling it
unreliable for quantity and quality, the letter says.

"Surface water is much more expensive to treat," Gouge said.

Singer will lead a discussion on water issues at the next meeting early next
year of the Carroll County Council of Governments, a forum for the towns and
community growth areas. The commissioners will ask the Maryland Association
of Counties to consider the problems many areas are facing with lagging
water resources.

"We have to put consistency and balance into the development process,"
Minnich said. "We need to get science and all the other players into a
discussion so that everybody is on the right track."


Copyright 2005, The Baltimore Sun
Email from:
Sandra Finley
Saskatoon, SK

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