By Kelsey Verboom
Water, water, everywhere and not a purified, UV-treated drop to drink.
We live in communities surrounded by water: glaciers, lakes, rivers, creeks and dribbling streams. Despite this rather wet existence, some towns in the valley struggle with bringing in clean, healthy drinking water that doesnt taste like licking a metal pipe.
Dry Gulch has hobbled along with their insufficient water system for years.
Invermere has enough water for everyone, but those who receive their H20 from the majestic Paddy Ryan Lakes know it tastes a bit funky.
Under Interior Health recommendations, Windermere has a long-standing water quality advisory, as their water gets sucked straight out of Lake Windermere. In the summer there is usually a boil water warning for this reason. Cant you taste the residual sunscreen and boat fuel just reading this?
Of these three water situations, two stand out for somewhat unfortunate reasons.
Dry Gulch and Windermere have both had viable solutions offered to them from the Regional District of East Kootenay: Dry Gulch had the option of system upgrades via the help of a $2 million grant, and Windermeres water woes could have been wiped clean if the community hadnt voted against connecting to a private water system run by Parr Utilities.
Although some will surely disagree, for many voters, the reasons for eschewing these two water options were based on upholding principles, or because voters personally disliked the could-be providers.
In other words, residents voted to keep drinking water that requires a health advisory, in the name of anti-privatization or other lofty moral targets. There must be a clever Chinese proverb to describe this situation.
The Windermere water issue is now back on the table (see story, page 9), and the community has until 2015 to purify their drinking supply
conundrum. Similarly, the clock is ticking for Dry Gulch, who may still be able to apply for the $2 million grant.
Hopefully residents will feel thirsty enough for crystal clear drinking water to compromise on a solution.