The national head of the Council of Canadians was on P.E.I. Wednesday to announce the formation of a new coalition of groups concerned about protecting the province's water supply.

Maude Barlow is concerned about P.E.I. groundwater because of a request from the P.E.I. Potato Board to lift a moratorium on high-capacity irrigation wells. Barlow said maintaining P.E.I.'s water supply is in the best interest of all Islanders, including farmers.

"P.E.I. is dependent on its groundwater. It has not been properly mapped, there is no proper conservation or long-term water program here. It's just a kind of everybody dips their straws in and let's hope it's OK, and it's not good enough," she said.

"If that's wrong and that groundwater isn't there or it's being contaminated, future generations of Islanders are not going to have the water, nor are the farmers."

The new Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water includes a number of groups.

  • The P.E.I. Watershed Alliance

  • The Sierra Club

  • District 1, Region 1 of the National Farmer's Union

The new coalition will make a presentation Thursday to P.E.I.'s standing committee on agriculture, energy and forestry.

The Council of Canadians hosted a public forum Wednesday evening on P.E.I.'s water supply at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel.