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LETTER: Bulk water sales revisited

Salmon rivers like the Exploits River were closed to anglers around the province by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans earlier this week because of low water levels. The recent stretch of hot weather the province experienced also led to higher water temperatures, which contributed to the river closures. As such, times for fishing the rivers, like the tributaries to the Exploits River, were reduced. Nicholas Mercer/Saltwire Network
The Exploits River. — SaltWire Network file photo

There is no doubt Newfoundland and Labrador is in a bit of a pickle. Premier Andrew Furey’s hands are full with a global pandemic, soon-to-balloon electricity rates and an oil industry in freefall. We must use alternative resources to rebound our fortunes.

In 2001, then premier Roger Grimes started a debate over bulk water exports. At the time, Grimes even promised to use profits from water to underwrite university tuition. I’m not proposing we immediately take 13 billion gallons of water a year from Gisborne Lake, but bulk water sales could be a lucrative source of badly needed income.

I’m proposing the premier focus on runoff water. (Gander River discharges more than 250 cubic metres of freshwater per second.) Select rivers around the province and siphon an environmentally acceptable percentage of water into storage tanks for future tanker delivery to markets around the world — creating countless jobs in rural areas.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s water is a renewable resource, and every single day millions upon millions of freshwater-dollars pour into the North Atlantic.

Shannon Cleary
St. John’s

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