Comox Valley Water Watch Coalition
Protecting our Water
C.V. Drinking Water Reference Guide- NEW EDITION now available
2011 CV Drinking Water Reference Guide- by Sonya Marie Jenssen - Abstract
Understanding the source to tap routing of one’s drinking water is a complex task. This guide intends to simplify a multi-faceted process without losing the complexity involved in the protection, treatment, maintenance, and monitoring of drinking water supply systems.
The management of a drinking water system touches all government jurisdictions, the municipal, provincial, and federal each with some level of responsibility for water quality and quantity. An extensive legislative framework and subsequent practice is in place to ensure that Canadians receive safe drinking water; even so, concerns continue to arise over the governance and management of water quantity and quality. Specific areas of concerns include climate change impacts, the use of chlorine, water quality on First Nation’s reserves, emergency preparedness, and water conservation measures.
This guide is designed to move readers through the source to tap path that drinking water travels everyday to households. Examples will be taken from Comox Valley water suppliers to highlight the working nature of legislation pertaining to water sources, along with the treatment, maintenance, and monitoring of our drinking water.
Ultimately, this guide hopes to inspire and inform the reader about the complexities involved in providing safe, clean drinking water to your taps at home and work. The next time you drink a glass of water take a moment to reflect upon the matrix of ecological and human ingenuity necessary in ensuring that each and every glass of water does indeed sustain your life.
“Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water”.
~Albert Szent-Gyorgyi 1893-1986, Hungarian Biochemist, 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine
Sonya Marie Jenssen, M.A.
Water Policy and Research Specialist
Your Water Your Future
Coal Mine Coming - Open house Wed Oct 28
In brief, the mine would be an underground mine starting above Fanny Bay and reaching to Baynes sound , producing about 2 million tons a year of coal with 700,000 tons of waste.
We must know how much water the mine will use, where they will ge the water, what they will be doing with the polluted water from washing the coal, and what the mine's impact on water, wells and aquifers will be.
The mine is having their 1st public open house the Weds. October 28th at the Fanny Bay Hall from 4p.m.- 9p.m.
They will be asking what they need to cover in their environmental assessment. If you put your questionon the record, they will have to answer them.
Coal's responsibility for greenhouse gases and global warming are not part of the environmental asssessment , but that doesn't mean those questions should not be raised.
BC has a carbon tax on heating fuel for your house, but we sell lots of coal to add to global warming.
This has impacts for the whole of Vancouver Island not just Fanny Bay !
Please attend this open house and show the coompany you care !
4-9 p.m. Weds. Oct. 28
Fanny Bay Hall
For more information on this project go to
Standing room only in Fanny Bay
CVRD Water Open House June 11, 2009
C.V. Water Watch is asking you to attend:
The Comox Valley Regional District's WATER FORUM
Thursday, June 11th from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Florence Filberg Center
– City of Courtenay, City of Comox, CVRD, B.C. Hydro, Ministry of Environment, VIHA, DFO, Timberwest, Comox Valley Water Watch, Courtenay Fish & Game Club, School District 71 students.
Find out about:
Regional Water Strategy
Water Wise Program
Quality and treatment of water
Drinking Water Protection
Come out and get involved. Your Drinking Water needs your interest and participation.
Ask questions about
Can your drinking water sources meet the needs of future growth?
What is the 4-3-2-1?
Does your Water source meet the new 4-3-2-1 regulations set out by VIHA?
Are smaller communities going to have to meet the new 4-3-2-1 now, then tie into a regional water system and pay again later?
When do our rural communities tie into a Regional Water source?
What is the Regional Water source? Is it protected?
Are any of our drinking watersheds protected?
Are the Timber companies planning to subdivide land around Comox Lake ?, the drinking water suply for 38,000 people.
Is there really a private power operation application on the Cruickshank River, the largest tributary to Comox Lake? How will this affect the water supply? Are there going to be special regulations for IPP’s (Independent Power Projects) on watercourses which feed drinking water supplies?
What is a deep water intake? Why are we waiting to install one till 2019?
What type of pipes deliver water to your home? Are they asbestos?
Is there money being allocated for replacing these old and hazardous pipes all over the Region?
Are Water meters the answer? When will they be installed? How much will this cost?
If you are on a limited income, how will you be able to afford all of the new infrastructure costs coming your way? Who will pay these high prices for infrastructure needs?
Do you approve when local governments grant permission for a development, then indemnify themselves in the event the community runs out of Water?
Do you think proven water supplies need to be in place before developments are permitted?
What kinds of bylaws are in place to support water conservation? What more do we need to do to support local governments to enact bylaws to better conserve water?
Who do you call, when you see exsessive sprinkling by one of the municipalities on public land ?
Why can’t I re-use my grey water, or can I?
Can I treat my rain water system and use it for drinking water?
What are the water needs of our growing agricultural community to be able to produce our food supply?
We hope that you have read this list of questions and it has prompted you to ask even more. Ask how you can participate in the Regional Water plan. How can you REALLY get the citizens voice out there and heard when it comes to your Drinking Water ?
Hope to see you there. We will be bringing our 3D-watershed map!
Comox Valley Water Watch Steering Committee
C.V. Water Watch - speaker Series
Manager of Nanaimo Regional Water Services to Speak on Cooperative Approach to Drinking Water and Watershed Protection.
On Thursday, April 2, Mike Donnelly, Manager of Water Services for the Regional Water District of Nanaimo, will speak on a new program in his district called Action for Water that is providing improved management and increased security of ground and surface water resources. The talk will be given at the Florence Filberg Seniors Lounge beginning at 7 pm. Hosted by the Comox Valley Water Watch Coalition, the event is open to the public and admission is by donation.
The Action for Water program was created over the last year to help address issues associated with impacts on the region’s water resources and to improve our approach to land use that would then assist in reducing further degradation," he says. "This was done with the help and guidance of a committee representing a variety of region-wide interests including Electoral Areas residents BC Ministry of Environment, the Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Islands Trust, local well drillers, forestry interests and conservation groups
"Population growth in the (Nanaimo) region along with existing land uses continues to put pressure on ground and surface water sources which impacts our watersheds and drinking water. These impacts have already led to negative changes in many watersheds and reduced and or contaminated ground water sources in a number of areas throughout the region," notes Donnelly
According to Kathleen Kinasewich, who heads the Comox Valley Water Watch Coalition, "It’s important to hear success stories from other regional districts, especially here on the Island. I think folks here will be greatly encouraged to learn more about Nanaimo’s program, and how residents, government and other interested parties came together to take action on water protection."
Donnelly currently oversees the operation of seven water systems and six sanitary sewer collection systems in his district ranging from small to medium sized operations with a total service population of approximately 15,000 people. In addition to the service provision aspect of Donnelly’s work, he is now responsible for the implementation of the Regional District’s newly established Drinking Water Protection service.
In addition to his 15 years of involvement in the management of public water systems, Donnelly has also managed the Region’s Liquid Waste and Solid Waste functions and was manager of Regional Transit for a number of years. He holds a Technical Diploma from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
For more information on CVWWC and the presentation, contact:email@example.com
or call 250-335-0747. Kathleen Kinasewich
Drinking Water Protection Plan
Drinking Water Protection Plan Needed
Novemeber 18, 2008
The Water Watch Coalition is asking you to support the development of a Drinking Water Protection Plan. If you value safe drinking water in the Comox Valley your letters of support are needed right now!
The Provincial Health officer has recommended the development of a Drinking Water Protection Plan (DWPP) for the Comox Valley Regional Water Supply. Under BC's Drinking Water Protection Act the plan would become an "Order" once it was approved by Mary Polak, Minster of Healthy Living and Sport (HL&S). A Drinking Water Protection Plan is simply an order from the Ministry of HL&S for our area to start working together on a plan to better protect our drinking water supply. This DWPP would enable our region to start working together in a transparent and inclusive planning process and would allow all stakeholders and consumers of drinking water in the Comox Valley to contribute to the plan. –i.e. we will make the plan.
A key advantage to an order for this plan is that once the plan is completed it would go to cabinet and what cabinet approves will become regulation and will then be implemented. Please note that this order would not dictate the contents of the plan, but simply ensure that the plan be completed by the community. Comox Valley Water Watch Coalition is asking citizens to write Minister Polak to say you support the development of a Drinking Water Protection Plan for the Comox Valley Regional Water Supply. Tell her the safety and security of our water supply is extremely important and that the Drinking Water Protection Plan will help achieve those objectives.
This is an urgent request to act right NOW. One paragraph saying you support the DWPP is all that is needed. Even if your house is not served by the Regional Water Supply you are affected when you drink water in town, at a friend’s, or at a public event.
Hard copy letters are much more effective but you can also contact the Minister by phone, fax or email.
Send your letter to:
Minister Mary Polak
PO Box 9067
STN PROV GOVT
Victoria BCV8W 9E9
Phone: 250 387-3504
Fax: 250 387-3420
E-mail the Minister at:HLS.Minister@gov.bc.ca
In addition to writing the Minister please send a copy of your letter to Water Watch Coalition at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campbell River's tap water places fourth
Sunday, March 9, 2008
March 6, 2008 (yesterday), CBC-TV's The National, featured a story on "a yet-to-be released federal report, prepared by more than 100 Canadian scientists on behalf of Canada's Department of Natural Resources”. The report focuses on the impact climate change will have on the country. It says water levels in Alberta and British Columbia are already dropping dramatically, as are the levels of the Great Lakes. The result could be a shortage of drinking water, the report says. It also warns that industries that rely on water - oil, gas, hydro-electricity, agriculture, even salmon farming - will also suffer."
The full article can be read at,http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/03/06/climate-study.htmlMarch 6,2008 (yesterday), I attended a conference to examine Water Governance, held in Nanaimo. The conference was attended by about 75 people from Victoria, the Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, the Comox Valley and Campbell River areas. They represented a variety of stakeholders: municipal, regional and provincial governments, First Nations, and a variety of stewardship groups. It was the third of four such sessions being held across the province (the first two were in Prince George and Langley, and the fourth will be next week in Kelowna).
The conference was sponsored by the Fraser Basin Council and the Ministry of Environment. The Council’s mandate is to ensure that the decisions we make now about how we live, work and play… will protect and advance the social, economic, and environmental sustainability (of the Fraser Basin, their Watershed) into the future. Those of us who were in attendance feel the same responsibilities for our own communities, our own Watershed, our own Comox Valley. The purpose of the gathering was to review, assess and give input into a research paper, prepared by Karen Bakker and Linda Nowlan, titled “Delegating Water Governance: Issues and Challenges in the BC Context”. We looked at how our water is currently governed, on how to initiate regulatory reform, and we shared information about the condition of our waters in general.
The bottom line is, as reported on CBC yesterday, that water shortages already exist, and can expect to become more severe in the future without good management by both citizens and governments. The question to be resolved is: What are good management practices and how to we implement them – FAST?
Local governments (regional and municipal) are struggling to deal with water issues. Local citizens need to become involved, working with science based panels on water issues. With input from knowledgeable citizens, hopefully our elected representatives will make good decisions which WILL support the social, economic and environmental sustainability of our Watershed. Without that input
There is clearly a push to privatize our water resources at the Federal level.
It is vital that we inform our elected representatives we are NOT willing to have them negotiate bulk water exports, we are NOT willing to have them negotiate contracts to sell our public water to private companies, and finally, that we do expect they WILL manage our public resource in a responsible manner.
Water is NOT a commodity. It is a human right. It is a necessity for human survival. Canada needs both a national water policy and a strategy to address climate change.
Please act NOW to protect our vital, priceless resource.
Sincerely, Linda Safford
Member of Comox Valley Water Watch Coalition.