WSP won for its work in developing an innovative solution for safe water in remote communities. Like many remote communities, the people of the Tl’azt’en Nation in northern B.C. had no access to clean drinking water. Because conventional water treatment technology was unfeasible, WSP Canada and the RES’EAU-WaterNET partnered to develop a treatment system for organic material. The project delivered a full-scale plant that allowed a 14-year boil water advisory to be lifted. The system uses natural biological processes, is low in consumables, reduces chemical requirements, produces little waste and is simple for operators to use.
Once a month, Susan Chipman drives to a mountainside spring that burbles from the ground in North Vancouver and ﬁlls four 20-litre containers with water to use for drinking and cooking. When full, each container weighs 20 kg. Chipman lives on the top floor of a three-storey walk-up apartment in Vancouver. Her building has running water, of course, supplied and sourced by Metro Vancouver from protected reservoirs even higher up in the North Shore Mountains. But it lacks an elevator. So, she hauls her water jugs up the stairs, one in each hand for balance. “It’s a bit of a chore in the true sense of the word, but it’s worth it, I think.” Chipman says she was hooked from the ﬁrst sip. She tasted it and thought, “OK, this is real water.”
Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued hefty fines to the University of British Columbia and CIMCO Refrigeration for releasing ammonia-laden water into a tributary of the Fraser River in Vancouver. According to a written statement, UBC was fined $1.2 million and CIMCO $800,000 stemming from a complaint about an ammonia odour at an outfall ditch connected to Booming Ground Creek in Pacific Spirit Regional Park on Sept. 12, 2014. The ministry says UBC and CIMCO were fixing the refrigeration system at Thunderbird Arena at the university's Vancouver campus when they purged residual ammonia vapours from the system into a storm drain that flowed into a ditch and then the creek.
Water in Metro Vancouver might seem like a limitless resource, but it's time for that notion to go down the drain. When it comes to home water use — for drinking, bathing, toilet flushing and more — Metro Vancouver is a pretty thirsty place. Residential water use in Metro Vancouver is 270 litres per capita per day. That's less than the City of Montreal's 286 litres per capita per day, but more than Toronto's 219 per day or the 210 per day used by residents of Calgary. So how do the thirsty residents of Metro Vancouver use all that wet stuff?
Vancouver is known for rain and snow-capped mountains, both of which supply the city's water reservoirs. But as climate change continues to alter weather patterns and reduce rainfall, the supply will dwindle and Uytae Lee is thirsty for action to be taken now. Metro Vancouver is also predicting another one million people will arrive in the region by 2050 and predicts a water "supply gap" by 2030.
More than 40 Indigenous communities in Canada have launched guardian programs, which employ local members to monitor ecosystems and protect sensitive areas and species. At a national gathering in Vancouver this week, guardians raised alarm about environmental degradation and climate change in their territories.
The Coldwater Indian Band, which asserts traditional territories in south-central B.C., said the pipeline route passes an aquifer that is the sole supply of drinking water for its main reserve “This is a major victory for my community,” said Coldwater Chief Lee Spahan. “Thankfully, the court has stepped in where Canada has failed to protect and respect our rights and our water.”