Thursday, 20 April 2017 08:00

Water Charter aims to unite communities

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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The Oldman Watershed Council held a Water Charter signing event in Lethbridge City Hall April 7 which was very well attended with 27 people signing the Charter and about 30 people in the crowd to lend their support. The Oldman Watershed Council held a Water Charter signing event in Lethbridge City Hall April 7 which was very well attended with 27 people signing the Charter and about 30 people in the crowd to lend their support. Photo contributed

The Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) has been helping unite municipalities in southern Alberta with its new Water Charter.


On April 7, the OWC held a Water Charter signing event to get officials from various municipalities together in one place to sign the Water Charter. The event took place in the foyer of Lethbridge City Hall.
The Water Charter represents a formal confirmation from both citizens and their municipal leaders they are not only standing behind watershed protection on a theoretical level, but people throughout the Oldman Watershed now recognize there is a heightened sense of urgency and are ready to act.
“The event was fantastic. We had 27 signatories officially sign the Charter as well as about 30 supporters in the crowd,” says Shannon Frank, executive director for the OWC.
The event began with drumming by  the North Blood Drummers, and following there there was a blessing by Mark Brave Rock of the Kainai Nation.
Then, Frank says they had remarks from some of their signatories about the importance of the project, why they pledged and what their actions are this summer.
Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and MLA for Lethbridge-West, was in attendance and said a few words along with Chris Spearman, Mayor of Lethbridge; Maria Fitzpatrick, MLA for Lethbridge-East and Brian Brewin, reeve for the M.D. of Taber.
Following the speakers, everyone officially signed the charter at the same time.
“We are very pleased with the event. Participation is growing daily as word spreads,” adds Frank.
Through their signatures on the Water Charter, participants are pledging they will do what they can to help better the watershed.
The OWC will hold another signing event.
“The project is progressing nicely. We continue to receive more participants each day and will have our next signing event at our (annual general meeting), June 15,” adds Frank.
Each participant who signs the Charter will choose one or multiple actions his or her community plans to take this summer to help the watershed.
Frank says they will work with all participants to get a video on the website and help them decide their actions.
“We will also be showcasing the projects all summer from May long weekend to September long weekend,” adds Frank.
As of April 11, there have been 41 people who have signed the Water Charter.
“I am excited about this project, because it is getting people from all walks of life involved in improving the health for their watershed,” adds Frank. “It is showing people that everyone can and does have an impact with the choices they make every single day.”
The goal from this project is to empower every person in the watershed to take action and celebrate these actions, because they help ensure clean, clear drinking water for families.
“The diversity of the projects is also exciting. We have people pledging to do everything from garbage clean ups to research using drones. It doesn’t matter if people start with a small or big project. The important thing is that each of us starts doing more to protect our water and our land,” adds Frank.
More information about the Water Charter can be found on the OWC website at: http://oldmanwatershed.ca/.

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