Martha Howatt and Peter Bower, who to me represent all the hard-working volunteers on watershed associations, made time to write this clear message:
Questions remain on deep-water wells
Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
Published on February 11, 2014
Gary Schneider, Dale Small, Daryl Guignion, Roger Gordon, Dr. Ian MacQuarrie, Shannon Mader, Margie Loo and Todd Dupuis have each written accurate, informed, and focused opinions that have appeared recently in The Guardian on the subject of deep-water wells.
These names are among those of the professionals whose expertise we seek when our watershed organizations apply for provincial funding and other grants. These are the names the government wants to see on our applications. They can make the difference between approval and rejection. These are the kinds of professionals who are in the streams and rivers observing water run off and erosion, anoxic events and associated fish kills from excessive nitrates, and estuaries dying from the spread of sea lettuce.
We cannot add any information they havenʼt provided from their many years of involvement in these issues near and dear to all of us, but we can add what they have to say is borne out by our years of work on our watersheds.
Nevertheless, we do have questions, including how will the noise, smell and sight of massive diesel pumps sitting in fields affect tourism? Will taxpayers again be subsidizing some farmers for drilling and purchasing the necessary equipment because it is doubtful that they will offset these costs by increased potato production? Is there any way to estimate the quantity of water that will be drawn from these wells?
The deep-well promoters and lobbyists maintain the farmers involved are concerned about the Islandʼs water resources. It is an understatement to point out we are all concerned, including the NFU which suggests that there may be alternatives.
We can only hope the lifting of the moratorium is not a done deal. The government must have meaningful and thorough public consultations. Letʼs take the time necessary to hold public meetings so Islanders are given the chance to absorb and understand the scientific evidence, to hear all sides, and to participate in a dialogue.
Our futures are at stake.
Martha Howatt, co-chair,
Peter Bower, chair,
South Shore Watershed Association
South Shore Watershed Association is a cooperative effort of four watersheds, west of the West River — Augustine Cove, DeSable, Tryon and Westmoreland. http://www.sswa.ca/
In addition to all they do in meeting rooms and on the rivers’ edges, they have a great website, with little jewels like this two-page leaflet about “What is a watershed?”:
and this link to a charming and informative 48-page out-of-print booklet on PEI’s water (it feels a bit old since it has hand-drawings, not clipart):