Water Restrictions on the Athabasca River and impacts to First Nation and Metis Communities
The Alberta Energy Regulator currently placed a water restriction on the Athabasca River. The first ever since anyone can ever remember, and some are thanking the new NDP government for prodding the AER to uphold their others duties of not only Energy oversight, but Environmetal protection, which has been severely lacking since the creation of the AER.
Science is predicting that it will become more common to have low water levels, however only some companies are restricted on water use, meanwhile there are companies such as Suncor, Syncrude and Shell that can continue taking as much water as they want (no real limit). This still compromises community health and treaty rights and gives corporations first rights to water over communities and living beings.
Further down the Athabasca River, where there are First Nation and Metis Communities, they are experiencing the first ever time, when they cannot catch fish or even take their boats on the water.
And of course everyone must understand, this is also going to majorly impact the QUALITY of water. Everywhere in Alberta, we are experiencing dry conditions, meaning the quality of our drinking water is more fragile, the fish, and ultimately life. We need to really start having leaderships on all levels, who value our water bodies such as river, lake and streams and put laws into place that will protect them.
Jesse Cardinal, Coordinator for Keepers of the Athabasca