Interior Health says region's drinking water quality needs improvement
Some communities have made upgrades to water infrastructure, but still a long way to go, IHA says
A survey of close to 1,600 water systems in the Interior Health Authority found 20 per cent were under a water quality advisory almost every day for the past five years — and 241 of them were under an advisory every day.
Chief medical health officer Dr. Trevor Corneil says there's still a lot of work to be done to ensure drinking water is clean and safe for people in the region.
"For the most part they are getting clean, safe water 70 per cent of the time," he said. "Is that enough? I don't think so. I think people deserve 100 per cent safe, potable drinking water."
Corneil says the aim of the report is to encourage people to demand quality water from their municipality.
Interior Health has put several videos online to educate people about the importance of quality drinking water, and how it is achieved.
Safe <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/drinkingwater?src=hash">#drinkingwater</a> is important to us @ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/InteriorHealth?src=hash">#InteriorHealth</a>. Visit our new site to learn more about your drinking water <a href="https://t.co/bNJmUb2vEi">https://t.co/bNJmUb2vEi</a>—@Interior_Health
Upgrades can be expensive
Corneil says the health authority has been working for the past decade to make drinking water in the region safer.
Interior Health says new treatment facilities in Kamloops, Sicamous and on the Lytton First Nation have vastly improved drinking water quality.
But Corneil says there's still a long way to go elsewhere in the region.
"We know that 20 per cent of systems are having trouble moving forward in terms of upgrading infrastructure or addressing the issue," he said.
"It's often a difficulty with infrastructure. It requires, particularly for small communities, an investment of more money than they are willing to put forward for the cost."
He says while upgrades to water systems can be expensive, there are federal and provincial grants available.
Ensuring safe, clean and reliable water for all British Columbians, <a href="https://t.co/6LlwdFiSrt">https://t.co/6LlwdFiSrt</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BC?src=hash">#BC</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canada?src=hash">#Canada</a>—@BCGovNews
With files from Brady Strachan.