Canadian Teachers are Waiting to Educate Over 82,000 Canadian Students About Drinking Water Quality Issues and Solutions

Canadian teachers are currently waiting for the opportunity to educate over 82,000 Canadian students about drinking water quality issues and solutions. In order to be able to do this they will need over 3,400 sponsored Operation Water Drop, Operation Water Pollution and Operation Water Biology kits to be sent to their schools. Individuals and companies can sponsor kits for schools. If you/your company sponsors kits, you/your company will be acknowledged in the letter that accompanies the kit. You can even decide in which geographic area your kits will be dispersed or to which specific school(s). Please e-mail info@safewater.org if you would like to sponsor Operation Water Drop, Operation Water Pollution and/or Operation Water Biology kits or if you would like more information.

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Many school divisions and districts from coast to coast are recommending the Safe Drinking Water Foundation's education programs to their teachers!  Thank you to all of the administrators who are promoting our programs!  To find out whether a sponsored kit is available for your school,  send an e-mail to info@safewater.org or phone 306-934-0389.

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Water related news. If you have any news that you would like us to include on this section of our website please e-mail info@safewater.org

Bruce Owen, Winnipeg Free Press July 18, 2014

VehiclesSitOnRoadHoopandHollerBend
TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Vehicles sit on the road at the Hoop and Holler Bend earlier this month.

The province has completely ruled out making a deliberate breach of the Assiniboine River at the Hoop and Holler Bend.

Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said Thursday flood protection measures put up around at homes south of Hoop and Holler Bend southeast of Portage La Prairie will be taken down over the next week.

Ashton said the decision was made as flood flows on the Assiniboine River peaked early Tuesday and are now declining.

"We want to allow people to get back to as much normality as they can," Ashton said. "Given the forecast now, it’s clear we’re not in need of it."

Two weeks ago Premier Greg Selinger said the province was once again consider a deliberate breach of Hwy. 331 at Hoop and Holler Bend, flooding seeded farmland to the south, to ease the pressure on riverbank dikes.

Ashton said the dikes continue to hold, with minor seepage in some spots, as water levels slowly decline.

The province plans to gradually reduce the amount of water going into the river from the Portage Reservoir by 500 cfs per day to 15,000 cfs. By doing it slowly, officials said the aim is to protect riverbank from slumping. Too steep a drop in flow could undermine the banks.

"The clay is saturated with water," said Doug McNeil, deputy minister of Infrastructure and Transportation.
"It’s like a big sponge that’s full of water. If you drop the weight of the water against that it, the riverbank itself will tend to want to drop."

The second crest of this summer’s flood being measured at the Portage Reservoir at a flow of 51,480 cubic feet per second at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday, slightly below the first crest last week of 52,100 cfs.

The flow into the Portage Reservoir on Thursday was measured at 49,090 cfs. The water is being split up with 18,000 cfs going into the river towards Winnipeg and the remainder into the Portage Diversion into Lake Manitoba.

The forecasted threat of localized rain in the next few days will not have much impact if any on the lessening flood situation, Steve Topping, provincial executive director of hydrologic forecasting and water management, said.

Meanwhile, the flood watch remains on Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg. Both lakes are above their preferred levels and the combined threat of wind and waves poses a risk to existing dikes and other protection measures. The province has prepared inundation maps for Lake Manitoba for possible flooding.

Wind-effected levels Thursday on Lake Manitoba were 814.1 feet above sea level at Steeprock and 814.5 at Westborne. Flood stage on the lake is 814 ft. asl. Lake Manitoba is forecast to peak at 814 ft. asl by early August, the province says.

Topping said Lake Winnipeg is now expected to hit 716.4 ft. asl by late July, largely influenced by historic flood flows on the Winnipeg River. The lake is not expected to drop below 715 ft. asl until mid-October. The lake is regulated by Manitoba with the preferred operating range being between 711-715 ft. asl. Hydro will operate its Jenpeg dam at the lake’s north end for 170,000 cfs. outflow when the lake reaches its peak.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

FLOOD WATERS AND ALGAE GROWTH

Will this year’s flooding have any influence, good or bad, on algae growth in Lake Winnipeg this summer?

The short answer is, no.

Rather than a flushing or dilution of the lake, the huge rush of water from the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and the much larger Winnipeg River will only add more nutrients to the lake to feed the growth of potentially toxic blue-green algae in the lake’s south basin. The same can be said of what the Saskatchewan River will add to the lake’s larger north basin.

The Red, Assiniboine and Saskatchewan River add agriculture runoff to the lake, and this summer that will be magnified by the sheer amount of flood water each is contributing to the lake.

Vicki Burns of the Save Lake Winnipeg Project said the Winnipeg River is the second-largest contributor of phosphorus after the Red River to the south basin.

“It’s nowhere what the Red River is, but it’s not totally clean,” she said.

Too much phosphorus and algae growth can transform the entire underwater ecosystem of the lake by reducing sunlight in the water, increasing its turbidity and reducing the oxygen available to fish and other organisms.

Agricultural runoff, combined with excessive drainage in the lake’s watershed, is commonly held up as the prime suspect.

However, phosphorus is also found in natural sources, such as rock weathering and the decay of dead plants and animals.

“There’s a amount of runoff from the boreal forest,” Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said of the Winnipeg River, which brings water into Lake Winnipeg from The Lake of the Woods. “There’s a lot of organic matter.”

How much algae growth could be seen by mid-summer if and we get several days of hot weather in a row.

“If we get those hot days where the lake is flat algae growth can really accelerate,” said Steve Topping, provincial executive director of hydrologic forecasting and water management.

Winnipeg Free Press July 17, 2014

Flood protection put up at homes south of Hoop and Holler Bend will be taken down over the week.

The start of the dismantling of residential dikes south-east of Portage La Prairie comes as the province today completely ruled out making a deliberate breach of the Assiniboine River to ease the pressure on riverbank dikes.

Provincial officials say flows on the Assiniboine River upstream of Portage La Prairie are now receding with the second crest of this summer’s flood being measured at the Portage Reservoir at a flow of 51,480 cubic feet per second at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday.

The flow into the Portage Reservoir today was measured at 49,090 cfs. The water is being split up with 18,000 cfs going into the river towards Winnipeg and the remainder into the Portage Diversion into Lake Manitoba.

As flows decline, the province plans to gradually reduce the amount of water going into the river by 500 cfs per day. By doing it slowly, officials said the aim is to protect riverbank. Too steep a drop in flow could undermine the banks.

Meanwhile, the flood watch now turns to Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg. Both lakes are above their preferred levels and the combined threat of wind and waves poses a risk to existing dikes and other protection measures.

The province has prepared inundation maps for Lake Manitoba for possible flooding.

Ryan Ross, The Guardian July 17, 2014

With the recent debate and attention on the subject of irrigation for the P.E.I. potato industry, the P.E.I. Institute of Agrologists chose Sustainable Water Footprint as the theme for their Atlantic Agrology Workshop.

The workshop will take place July 20 to 22 at the Stanley Bridge Resort. While the workshop is a professional development type of event for its members, any interested members of the public are invited to register and attend.

The purpose of the workshop is to provide educational and informative presentations around the subject of water and agricultural uses of water, including irrigation. Following the educational presentations, a two-hour panel discussion with questions and answers will close the event.

The presentations will provide information on groundwater, affect of nutrient losses on groundwater, the impacts of groundwater extraction, responsible fertilizer use, weather and climate, plant breeding for reduced inputs, irrigation (management, technology, issues and regulations), water quality management, and economic and future insights on agriculture.

The conference has limited seating and there are one-day passes available. Registrations will be taken up to the day of the event subject to available seating.

The full program is available at http://www.peiia.ca/conf.pdf or by calling 902-892-1943 or emailing info@peiia.ca.

Diane Crocker, The Telegram July 17, 2014

Yvonne Brown has noticed a change in water pressure from time to time at her Goose Arm Road home in Deer Lake.

“It’s not like it used to be, for sure,” she said.

With the rivers and brooks seeming to have lots of water, Brown said, “I’ve wondered why it was down.”

The town says the pressure is down due to high usage levels. A common problem in the summer months when people tend to be a bit more free with water, watering their lawns and washing their vehicles.

It’s because of the impact on the water pressure in parts of the town, including Goose Arm Road, that the town has implemented some water conservation measures.

Brown thinks it’s a good idea to have those measures in place. She knows that people can water their lawns and gardens at certain times, but she’s even been refraining from doing so and reusing some household water for that purpose.

She said the low pressure hasn’t affected her much when it comes to cooking and washing.

“But if I had a big family, it might.”

Audrey Bennett has also noticed a change in her water pressure.

“We seem to have low water pressure the majority of the time,” she said.

Bennett wonders if development in the town could also be affecting the situation.

“Maybe the lines can’t keep up with what’s required,” she said.

Her home is on a corner of Goose Arm Road, so she said she hasn’t been impacted much by the drop in water pressure.

“I think further in the road they’re having problems,” she said, adding she also supports the conservation measures.

“I think the majority of people (do). I hardly ever see anybody watering their lawn anymore.

“I figure when the rain comes, we’ll get enough.”

The Telegram July 17, 2014

PublicAdvisory
Public Advisory

Says to turn off lawn sprinklers and postpone car washing

Residents are advised that due to the recent hot, dry weather the town of Clarenville is finding it impossible to maintain sufficient water levels in the water storage tank on Bare Mountain Rd.

At the July 15 Clarenville council meeting, Chief Administrative Officer Bob Hiscock said preventative measures must be taken to preserve the town’s water supply.

“Normally, overnight, our tank fills to 100 percent of its capacity, which is 1.215 million gallons,” he said. “As of lunchtime (Tuesday) it was at 84 percent. We calculated that we’re probably losing one percent an hour. Now we can make that up to some point after nightfall when people go to bed and the pumps get a chance to gradually catch up.”

In a statement issued by Coun. Bill Bailey and the Clarenville town council, the public works committee has determined that the problem is caused by extensive use of garden hoses for watering lawns and washing vehicles.

It is essential to maintain sufficient water levels for daily use in addition to the event of an emergency such as having to fight a fire in Clarenville.

“It is a potentially very serious problem,” said Hiscock. “Not only does that tank provide us with water pressure and water for the community but it allows us to fight fires. Once the tank goes below 65 percent, for example, the computers will kick that plant in automatically to start to fill the tank again and this is what we’ve been doing manually for the last several days, trying to stay ahead of it, mainly for firefighting services and so on.”

The town of Clarenville requests residents to refrain immediately from using unnecessary water by not watering lawns or washing vehicles.

Any other voluntary water conservation measures are greatly appreciated.

If the town is unable to maintain sufficient water levels by Friday, July 18, a mandatory water restriction will be issued.

The town of Clarenville thanks all residents for their cooperation on this matter.