‘Twas a beautiful weekend spent with family and friends on a ranch in the hills of the Okanagan Valley. We splashed around in a river flowing directly through a cow pasture and floated lazily in a lake that’s off-limits to motorized boats of any sort.

The company was real and phenomenal. The water was soothing and appreciated.

So imagine my surprise as I drove back to Vancouver two nights ago to find my adopted city engulfed in a figurative fire.

Where There’s Smoke…

The world doesn’t have enough water. We know this. It’s a reality I never thought we’d face in our well-off corner of the country, but here we are. Wildfires burn north of our city and threaten the infrastructure of our neighbours. Consider it notice served, a point accentuated by Metro Vancouver’s startling water shortage.

Can we do something about it? Can we cram the dishwasher full before running it or wash dishes by hand? Can we wash more clothes with less water? Can we accept the fact our lawns might be brown this summer?

Of course we can. But the water shortage isn’t really news, it’s happened before. The startling reality is that we’re headed down a dangerous road of WaterWorld proportions, where the irony of being surrounded by life-giving H2O is tainted by the fact we can’t actually use it. And it’s not because we don’t have gills like Kevin Costner, it’s because water is becoming a hot commodity, one that’s bought, sold and rented for mere fractions of a penny so that corporations can wet their pockets.

 

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Look, I get that our water supply is operated by the government. Does that grant them ownership? In a time of crisis (make no mistake, that’s where we are), should we, erm, I mean, our government, be selling this resource so rich companies can get richer?

Maybe we haven’t reached pandemic levels yet and maybe I’m crying out for something to complain about but this is how emergencies begin.

I don’t like where this is headed. Water isn’t currency, and treating it as such is going to get us all burnt.



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