World Water Day: Why are the Themes of Water and Food Security Relevant to Alberta?

March 22, 2012 :: Brian Mason
Moderated by Keith McLaughlin

This year’s theme for World Water Day (March 22) is water and food security. In Alberta we do not often feel food insecure, so how does the theme of World Water Day have an impact in our world? Southern Alberta has a limited water supply for both urban and rural residents. As well, agricultural production relies heavily on irrigation, so it is essential to ensure our water is not polluted.

Water pollution is a main cause of reduced water availability and can have serious impacts on the environment and on human health. The pollution can stem from inadequate rules for resource and industrial development. Increasing amounts of urban waste also compromise water quality in rivers, lakes and aquifers along with agricultural practices using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. As well, intensive livestock production impacts water resources adversely if proper practices are not followed. New, more integrated approaches to food production can substantially limit pollution.

Alberta’s NDP says the heart of water policy must be to put our human and ecosystem water needs ahead of any commercial use and to ensure water is not used for private profit. The party has three main promises with respect to water in Alberta. Carry out a comprehensive water survey that documents total water availability in Alberta. Prioritize the implementation of an all inclusive wetlands protection plan and phase in mandated rules covering commercial, industrial, agricultural and residential water quality preservation and conservation best practices.

Speaker: Brian Mason, MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
and leader of the Alberta New Democrats

Brian Mason became active in Alberta politics early on when he served as the Executive Director of the Alberta Federation of Students from 1977-1979 following his Political Science studies at the University of Alberta. For the next several years, Mason was employed by Edmonton Transit Services as a popular city bus driver.

In October of 1989, Brian was elected City Councillor for Ward 3 where he remained for the next 11 years. He won a provincial by-election in Edmonton-Highlands in 2000, and was re-elected in the provincial general elections in 2001, 2004 and 2008, On July 13, 2004 Brian Mason became the Leader of Alberta's New Democrat Opposition

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