When I first read about the intense opposition to water metering in Grand Forks, I was surprised.
We all know our community uses far too much water—about double the Canadian average. If we aren’t willing to reduce our excessive water use ourselves, then I thought it was a good thing for the community as a whole to persuade us to change our ways. And so I was in favour of water meters to protect and preserve our limited water supply.
But the more I learned about corporate maneuvers across the globe to privatize water, the more concerned I became about the city’s plan to install water meters. As Maude Barlow has said in her book Blue Covenant, “The world is moving toward a corporate-controlled freshwater cartel, with private companies, backed by governments and global institutions, making fundamental decisions about who has access to water and under what conditions.”
Maybe the city’s plan is really a benign attempt to conserve water or maybe the city is being fooled by corporate interests that seek to privatize our water supply for profit.
Water is not a commodity; it is a necessity of life. Let’s not forget that ultimately the water, the air and other vital natural resources necessary for our survival belong to us all—and to future generations.
Government is expected, and indeed obligated, to preserve and protect natural resources that are vital for our survival. The City of Grand Forks should reconsider its plan to force water meters on its citizens and instead should fulfill its duty to protect our public resources from corporate interests.