Every night this summer on the American news channels they talk about the bad weather they are having, and it must be admitted that they are having some pretty weird weather patterns. Torrential rain and floods in the East the mid-west is hotter than normal and the west is being ravaged by fires and drought and not to mention Tornados all over the place.
It is the drought I wish to converse about the fact that slowly but surely the U.S.A. is running out of fresh water. The great aquifers lying under ground are being pumped dry to provide water for the cities, towns, and farms all across the west and southwest. The water situation in parts of southern California are such that they are changing by-laws to make it a fineable offense to use the garden hose to wash your car or to let the sprinklers fall on the sidewalks or roads. Water level in reservoirs are either at all-time lows or in some cases drained dry. The time is coming when the U.S will look to other places to get water such as north.
Under NAFTA Canada has to trade water to the U.S. if it demands it. This is a little known fact to those outside the Governments and the negotiators of the treaty. Canada has some three million fresh water lakes which is more than the rest of the world combined so this naturally makes Canada a prime target to feed the rapacious American need for water. This water question also includes Mexico where there are disputes over both the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers. In Canada these same type of disputes occur over the usage of the water in the Great Lakes. Unfortunately for Canada the border runs right through the Lakes so it is somewhat difficult to stop the American from syphoning off water from their side.
As Global Warming intensifies and the weather continues to grow worse water will replace oil as a bone of contention and Canada will have to supply whatever the Americans want. What the U.S. wants it gets either through economic pressure or in some instances open warfare, Under NAFTA Canada is obligated to supply the U.S. with certain percentages of oil and natural gas even if it means we do without. Will it ever reach the point where America threatens open aggression over water, who can say but I wouldn’t bet the farm against it? It is quite feasible that at some point in the future, possibly the near future, that the War of 1812 could and would be fought again and if that be the case methinks Canada will not fare as well as the first time.
The scenario painted above might sound more like fiction and perhaps it is but then what if it is a forewarning a premonition the shape of things to come.
The North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada the US and Mexico has brought to the forefront several transnational and Trans border water issues between the three countries.
Bulk water is not included in the NAFTA agreement unless it is traded as a good or commodified. Canadian environmentalists and legal experts believe that, in fact, bulk water is not protected under NAFTA and that it’s only a matter of time before it is treated as a commodity.
As water resources become scarcer and further decrease with global warning, transborder watersheds and aquifers are increasingly vulnerable to binational conflicts.
The Water Chronicles.