By Steve Coyne
“Water water everywhere, nor any drop to drink,” is the one line everybody knows from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Carlos Vargas, University of Calgary student and organizer of the Water for Life forum, is conscious of a modern-day shortage of water and aims to use the United Nations’ World Water Day to spread the message.
“The goal is to bring experts from the civil, private and public sectors, as well as university academics, together,” explained Vargas. “We want to raise awareness of water resource issues.”
Presenters will include representatives from Alberta Environment, City of Calgary, the Department of Developmental Studies, the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation technology. The forum will discuss local issues in the morning and proceed to global issues in the afternoon.
“We felt that it was important to present, in a conference about water, both perspectives.” Vargas said adding the two views are related, and in order to properly address them, people on both sides need connect better with their counterparts.
It is estimated water shortages will soon affect 2.8 billion people, and Alberta’s water reserves–if they aren’t already–will soon be overextended. Vargas said Canadians take their water supply for granted, and added that even Calgary City Council was not able to predict a steady supply in the face of rising demand.
Eli Angen, President of the U of C Engineers Without Borders, agreed with the need for caution.
” Canadians should be educating ourselves on water issues since we have around 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water supply, and we have the longest marine coastline of any country in the world,” noted Angen.
The forum takes place at the Husky Oil Great Hall, in the Rozsa Centre, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tue., Mar. 22, coinciding with the UN World Water Day. Registration is free, and lunch will be provided.