What is our water worth?

What is our water worth? Open letter to Keith Halliday, re: Sept. 19 column With interest I listened to CBC North this summer and followed your family's canoe adventure from the headwaters of the Yukon River down to Dawson. I know from experience that wh

Open letter to Keith Halliday, re: Sept. 19 column

With interest I listened to CBC North this summer and followed your family’s canoe adventure from the headwaters of the Yukon River down to Dawson.

I know from experience that while enjoying the river journey you probably were also busy with daily chores – like collecting drinking water. As a Yukon outdoorsman you were probably screening the shoreline of the Yukon, looking for some small little stream to fill up your water bottles, having in mind there might be a beaver pond above, and maybe using a filter for purification.

What a delight it is once the bottles are full again. You take a sip and it tastes wonderful.

Now there’s one thing that surprised me when reading your articles on fracking and the public reaction to the LNG plant: Do you know that for fracked water, which is drinking water poisoned with chemicals for the purpose of exploiting shale oil and gas by hydraulic fracturing, that there is no filter available? Secret chemical formula, proprietary information by oil and gas companies, and the government’s simply fine with that.

The fact that huge amounts of clean water will be mixed with chemicals, pressed underground to “do the job” and fracture the shale and then remain there, that this toxic cocktail might mix with groundwater and other waterways, this is what makes Yukoners concerned. The question about fracking in the Yukon is about water. To translate it to “Yukonomist language”: What is our water worth?

If you want to continue and bottle your water from creeks, or have your well water at home clean, you will have to start thinking about protecting this precious resource.

I heard of trappers, hunters and hikers in parts of northern B.C. that have to carry their drinking water while being out on the land. Some people can light their well water at home as a result of fracking in Alberta. Go online and check it out – these are “fractured lands” already. People in the Yukon care more about water and health than they do about short-sighted “Yukonomics” – you can’t drink money, you need the water.

Peter Huber


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