The Council of Canadians congratulates the City of Montreal and McGill University for becoming Blue Communities on World Water Day, March 22, 2019. Montreal joins more than 40 Blue Communities around the world, including major cities such as Paris, Berlin and Victoria. McGill University becomes the fourth university in the world to obtain this certification.
The Blue Communities Project encourages municipalities and Indigenous communities to support the idea of a water commons framework, acknowledging that water is a shared resource for all. They do this by passing resolutions that recognize water and sanitation as human rights, ban or phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events, and promote publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services.
The United Nations passed resolutions confirming the human rights to water and sanitation in 2010. This requires governments to implement these rights and ensure access to safe, clean water and sanitation services.
“By becoming a Blue Community, Montreal has taken strong steps to address the global plastics crisis and ensure that its water services are, and will remain, a public trust. Montreal is now the largest municipality in Canada to become a Blue Community and is a leader in the fight to protect the human right to water. There are now more than 15 million people who live in Blue Communities and the number grows every day,” said Maude Barlow.
Posing with Blue Communities certificates pictured left to right: Alice-Anne Simard, Executive Director of Eau Secours, Sylvain Ouellet, vice-president of the Executive Committee and responsible for water and water infrastructure for the City of Montreal, Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) of McGill University, and Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians.
A “Blue Community” recognizes its responsibility to promote the right to water. Because water is central to human activity, it must be governed by principles that allow for reasonable use, equal distribution and responsible treatment to preserve water for nature and for future generations.
The Council of Canadians, along with CUPE and Eau Secours, is encouraging people to use the tools in the Blue Communities Project Guide to help their city/town/municipality pass resolutions and become Blue Communities. Their efforts will highlight the importance of publicly owned and managed water and wastewater services, promote the use of tap water over less-regulated and polluting bottled water, and encourage the recognition of the human right to water.
Bravo Montreal and McGill University!