EDITORIAL: Drink from the tap, Squamish

The scariest thing about our drinking water is the erosion of public trust in it.

After you read this, ditch that home or office water cooler — and bottled water — and put your mouth right to the spout of your run-of-the-mill Squamish faucet for a good long drink of our municipal tap water.

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Yes, there are currently headlines in our news feeds about lead in some Canadian and U.S. municipal water supplies.

And heck yes, that needs to be fixed, stat.

But our water in Squamish is safe. 

Drinking water in Squamish is essentially lead-free, according to the District.

We must be vigilant about supporting — financially and verbally — municipal water source that means no matter who you are, you can turn on the tap and drink safe water. 

In places where this isn’t the case, this creates water have and have nots.

Water is scarce for more than 2.3 billion (yes, billion) people in the world, according to the World Data Lab’s Water Scarcity Clock.

Even in Canada, 18 per cent of our population live in water-scarce areas.

This scarcity — not enough safe drinking water per person — can be caused by  drought, or by a lack of infrastructure.

Infrastructure is created by local governments with tax dollars. That requires the will of taxpayers to support it because they believe it is important.

When water is not readily available, people have to buy it from a private source, creating water have an have nots.

Think about that.

Humans need water to survive. We literally die after three days without it. There should never be water have nots.

Supporting Squamish’s safe municipal water supply, which comes from seven Powerhouse Springs wells, therefore, is a life and death issue.

The cost of our safe and tasty drinking water is beyond minimal at $0.0014 per litre.

 This is calculated by taking the total cost of providing water including operating budget, capital projects and debt servicing — $5.94 million in 2017 — and the  volume of water consumed: 4,176 ML.

“Squamish is considered by Vancouver Coastal Health to be among the best in the region. Our water quality is measured against Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and chlorinated for disinfection purposes to ensure the safety of the water,” Mayor Karen Elliott told The Chief.

“We are fortunate to have very high-quality water coming from our aquifer which requires minimal chlorine, and we take great care of this valuable resource by investing in its management and protection through our Water Master Plan and Well Protection Plan.”

Studies show consumption of bottled water is increasing worldwide as corporations that sell water move in to take advantage of the fear and tout the convenience of bottled water.

Most of the discussion about bottled water in Squamish lately has been around the environmental impact of plastic bottles, but arguably the biggest danger is not the plastic but the attitude that perhaps our water isn’t safe.

Residents can check out the District’s Drinking Water fact sheet at squamish.ca to learn more about how local water is treated, monitored and preserved.

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