The NFU understands water is a basic human need, right and responsibility — a public trust, not a commodity. We support a precautionary approach to water, making protection of clean water supplies for human consumption, basic needs and food processing the top priority. Clean water supplies must be enhanced by promoting conservation and protection of water resources, and a transition toward the principles of agroecology.
We oppose water exports and any transfer between river basins. We support control of water and call for national mandatory standards for the long term protection of water quantity and quality.
The precautionary principle should be used in granting license for new access to water. The NFU opposes commercial (non-farm use) water-taking in farming areas unless comprehensive and independent hydrogeological studies are done to assure no adverse effect on the aquifer. The NFU opposes the excessive use of fresh water from surface and ground sources for oilfield flooding. Provincial and federal governments should publicly acknowledge and identify the incidences of non-saline aquifer contamination by the oil and gas industry. All governments must take climate change into account in their predictions of future water quality and quantity. Citizens should have access to facilities to test well water for neonicotinoids, glyphosates and their respective derivatives.
Canadian food security depends on our ability to retain sovereignty over national water supplies. However, under NAFTA, Canada‘s control over this vital resource is compromised. The NFU calls on the Government of Canada to immediately secure an explicit exemption for water under the goods, services and investment provisions of the NAFTA and the FTA; place a moratorium on any new water export initiatives until such an exemption is in place; and secure an explicit exclusion for water and water-related services under the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS), the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) and all subsequent agreements related to international trade.