Healthy Living in the North

Valuing our Tap Water

water, drinking water awareness week, drinking water

Why pay for bottled water when fresh, clean water is at your fingertips?

May 4-10, 2014 is Drinking Water Awareness Week, a chance to raise awareness of the value of our water, the need to protect and conserve it, and those who are involved in delivering it to us.

Water plays a critical role in our daily lives and quality of life. When you turn on your tap and clean water flows, do you know how it got there? People use water every day to meet daily needs from cooking to bathing and drinking. Access to public water that is safe and reliable is crucial to a community’s health and prosperity.

Most of us don’t think about how drinking water systems work. We count on water to flow uninterrupted, whenever we want it for as long as we want. We expect it is safe to drink and never give a second thought about its quality.

Did you know? It takes natural, human and financial resources, as well as physical, chemical and biological processes, to bring safe water to your home.

Those who operate our water systems work hard to ensure that our water is safe to drink and the equipment and pipes used to deliver it are clean and in top shape. They commit themselves to current training to stay on top of changing technology.

Safe drinking water at every tap defines Canada and from developing nations. Many developing countries do not have tap water that is safe to drink or to wash or prepare food. Their supply can be interrupted for long periods and without warning. Amounts and pressure may not maintain public sanitation and there may not be enough for fire protection. In some places, water must be hauled by jug from a central pipe or well. In fact, others may need to haul water from polluted rivers and streams.

When we remember examples like this, we realize how much we take this valuable resource for granted. We use large amounts, up to 350 litres per person per day, and we tend to be wasteful. We wash our cars and leave the water running, spray our driveways, water our lawns and, in spring, even melt old snow. Yet, safe drinking water from the tap is one of the primary reasons our country enjoys good health overall.

Have you taken time to think about the water coming from your taps?

Learn more about our drinking water supply by visiting

Bruce Gaunt

About Bruce Gaunt

As an environmental health officer (EHO) in northern B.C. since the fall of 1977, Bruce has worked or visited many communities across the north, from Haida Gwaii to Valemount and from Quesnel to Fort Nelson and Dease Lake. Starting in Terrace as a field EHO, Bruce moved to Prince George in 1987 to continue to grow his expertise in this field. Bruce is now a specialist in drinking water issues as a health planner. When not at work, Bruce enjoys bird watching, hiking, travel, photography and singing in local community choirs. (Bruce no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)