Amber Sears removes a glass stopper from a beaker, gives the contents a swirl and takes a whiff. The 23-year-old is a water lab technician and sniffing is her job. "You're smelling for musty and earthy smells," Sears said. "That's what happens when the spring runoff happens, when the vegetation comes into the water." She checks the scent wheel which offers descriptors like fishy, swampy and flowery. The wheel helps testers like Sears circle in on the aromatic analysis of our drinking water.
"Water is life, without it nothing survives, but for a long time now families in Chatham-Kent have been dealing with black water coming from their wells, jeopardizing their lives and livelihoods," he said.
The concrete landscape of our country’s developing cities is accelerating the loss of absorbent ground, with ever-increasing amounts of water having no place to go. Paving over porous paradise, or any absorbent ground, increases the risk of basement flooding, say researchers using City of Toronto data.
A small Quebec town that was facing a $1-million lawsuit from an oil-and-gas exploration company for trying to protect its own water has won its court battle and could see half of its legal fees reimbursed by the Montreal-based company.
A Sooke-based company has become the first in Canada to desalinate and sell bottled ocean water. Saltwest Naturals sells a range of sea salt products using water from the Salish Sea off Vancouver Island's southwest coast, and more than 400 stores across Canada carry the line. But it wasn't until a chance conversation that one of the company's owners realized he could tap into a new market – bottled seawater.
Though drought has ravaged much of the world in recent decades and severe drought continues over large swaths of Africa, to see a large, developed city run out of water raises questions for us all: Could this happen in Canada? If so, how might we prevent it?
'We're coming together to make awareness to take care of the water,' says elder Shirley Williams In 2003, when Anishnaabe elder Josephine Mandamin took her first ceremonial water walk around Lake Superior, she wanted to share the message that the water is sick and people need to fight for that water, to speak for that water and to love that water.
Wilbert Marshall says he's more confident in the work being done by an Irish company The chief of Potlotek First Nation says his community is tired of lip service from the government, and he's now putting his confidence in an Irish company to deal with the water issues.
On Monday, people in Cape Breton reserve advised not to use tap water to wash clothes, bathe or drink A group of First Nations chiefs in Atlantic Canada is blasting the federal government for what it sees as a lack of action in fixing the yearlong water problem in Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton.
High levels of iron and manganese exceed 'esthetic objectives' for water quality A year after residents of Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton rallied to protest the quality of their drinking water, the community has been advised by Health Canada not to drink the water, bathe in it or even wash clothes in it.
While the Canadian government says it's on track with its 2016 promise to bring safe water to First Nations communities within five years, some are still calling it an ambitious plan.
"First Nations communities are not homogenous. And the water source is not a homogenous source either, for these communities," said Lalita Bhardawaj, a toxicologist and public health professor at the University of Saskatchewan.
"There's no technical reason why we couldn't solve the drinking water problem," is what a retired engineering executive told The Globe and Mail, as part of this newspaper's investigation into the abysmal state of the water on the country's Indigenous reserves. Truer words were never spoken.
Behind every failed First Nations water plant is an unfortunate story. Assigning blame can be challenging: Although Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) pays for most on-reserve infrastructure and sets most of the rules governing design and construction, many other parties are involved, including project managers, engineering and construction firms and First Nations chiefs and councillors.
Serpent River’s woes resemble those of the 90 other Canadian reserves under drinking-water advisories. But there is a cruel twist: This water treatment plant is barely a year old. It is a small yet impressive modern facility, a bewildering but orderly arrangement of pumps, piping and gauges.
"We need to fix this," she said. "A lot of Canadians have been helping with water projects in Africa and all around the world and they had no idea that there were places in Canada where you couldn't just turn on the tap and drink the water, and so I think the consciousness has been raised."
Unfortunately, many small municipalities and First Nations communities in Saskatchewan do not have good-quality source water. Indeed, rural Saskatchewan has some of the poorest-quality raw water sources anywhere.
There are now 16 First Nations in Saskatchewan and one in Alberta producing some of the highest quality tap water in the world using the IBROM process. So there is proof that very poor quality water can be treated most effectively, economically and sustainably.