Clean drinking water coming to Southeast Kelowna and a reliable, resilient source of water for agricultural in the South Mission. -Image: Pixabay

Clean drinking water coming to Southeast Kelowna and a reliable, resilient source of water for agricultural in the South Mission. -Image: Pixabay

No more excuses: Fix the clean water problem

Deb takes issue with the fact governments have been promising clean water and not delivering

Clean, safe, reliable water should be available to all people in Canada in this day and age, and yet it isn’t.

We have all heard the promises of politicians on the campaign trails, and still, there are many places in this country where there are consistent boil water advisories or just plain water that is unusable for numerous reasons.

In 2016, there were 105 communities with long-term drinking water advisories in place, where the water had been unsafe to use or consume for at least a year. By this year, the number of communities without water is 61.

The majority of these communities are First Nations.

Isn’t clean water, safe water a basic human right in a developed country like Canada for everyone?

Thousands of people do not enjoy that right, and I find any excuse or explanation of infrastructure problems, lack of money, or even remoteness of areas, beyond belief or acceptability in this day and age.

I cannot imagine what a daily routine would be like without running, clean water. Unfortunately, too many know what this reality is.

If we can afford to fly military aircraft into communities multiple times carrying bottled water, can we not better afford to upgrade or fix the water treatment plants in the first place?

I understand our infrastructure systems were built by our grandparents’ generations or older, but part of our taxes should be set aside to keep, build or repair these systems so we are not facing these situations in the first place.

Canada has approximately a fifth of the world’s fresh water, and here in B.C., we account for 84 per cent of our country’s water advisories, despite only having approximately 13.5 per cent of the Canadian population. How is this even happening here?

This government pledged five years ago to fix most of the problem by 2021… hmmm doesn’t seem fixed, not even close.

To go back a few years, between 1995 and 2008, the federal government’s Indigenous affairs department spent $3.5 billion to tackle the problem. Things have since gotten worse. Despite the seemingly large amount of money, they can’t even identify all of the regions that require their water treatment facilities to be fixed, never mind actually fix them.

This isn’t a technical problem that the government can’t figure out, it’s politics getting in the way of actually helping fellow Canadians.

For context, in May 2000, a community a few hours from Toronto called Walkerton had an advisory put on their water. The Canadian government proceeded to throw all its resources at the issue, rallying around the community to correct the problem within 198 days. For some reason, the over 1,000 advisories in the rest of Canada aren’t considered an issue?

I, for one, think it’s high time politicians stop flapping their gums about promises, fix this problem, and get the taps flowing.

 

Clean drinking water for all First Nations is a key part of reconciliation. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)

Clean drinking water for all First Nations is a key part of reconciliation. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)

Drinking clean, fresh water throughout the day is just one of the things you should include in your life. (file photo)

Drinking clean, fresh water throughout the day is just one of the things you should include in your life. (file photo)