All people know that water is the source of life. Every day, you use water to prepare a delicious dinner the whole family can enjoy; you take care of your pets or garden with water, and are proud of their growth; when you take a shower to take away fatigue and pressure, and have a good night; do you think about your life without safe water? Actually, there is a water revolution in progress in the most of the world, including Canada.
In 1854, Dr. John Snow discovered that people could be killed by the water they drank because diseases can be transmitted through water; people started to pay more attention on safety and quality of their water. During these developing years, each region built its own environmental department and with an aim to improve quality and safety of water sources. Canada has also evolved departments for water and other environmental issues federal and for each province. These departments develop their own policies, create acceptable operational activities and plans, in order to keep water sources safe from disease and contamination, especially in these 10 years after the Walkerton tragedy.
In 2000, 7 people died and more than two thousand people were made ill in Walkerton. Through the investigation, victims were infected by E-coli, which they were exposed to through the drinking water. After this tragedy, people started to re-consider quality and safety of water sources in Canada. Therefore, the Walkerton Inquiry supported 121 recommendations to protect water sources. These recommendations included:
- Improving effectiveness and partnership between government organizations;
- Need to strengthen approvals and inspections;
- Strengthen training and certification requirements
- Drinking water source protection;
- Setting improved standards, and etc.
As a result, each province started to improve and develop available acts, regulations, plans and activities. Most provinces have gained satisfied achievements and results. For example, the Ministry of the Environment in Ontario has set its own policies, such as Clean Water Act, Ontario Water Resource Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Water Opportunities Act; and in Nova Scotia, they monitors surface water quality through lake surveys and joint initiatives between federal and provincial governments, build five active surface water stations to collect real-time data.
In addition, as the victim of the tragedy, Walkerton also participates to the water protection. In 2004, a drinking water organization named Walkerton Clean Water Center (WCWC) was established by Ontario’s government. At first, this center aimed to reach the Walkerton Inquiry’s recommendations; after several years developing, it tends to build its own strategy. Now, this center makes up it work with three points: training, technology, and research. According to these points, the Walkerton Clean Water Center starts a series of activities:
- creating training courses to improve ability and skills of staffs;
- building and developing the advanced science and technology;
- providing systems and situations for doing research, and etc.
However, although the water revolution has gained satisfied results, the features of water protection make us to keep focusing on it. First of all, the water conservation is a long-term project and mission that we need to develop and complete. Therefore, we should keep advancing some activities:
- improving technology,
- revising regulations,
- changing plans, and etc.
For instance, the Ministry of the Environment in Ontario kept protecting the Great Lake and changing its surround environmental situations from 2004 to 2010. And in British Columbia, they uses the Drinking Water Protection Act from 2001 to now. Therefore, they need to update the Act during these years, so that they can make sure their opinions, plans, and activities can follow the step of water conservation development.
At the same time, the water protection is also the responsibility needs each person to support and contribute. In recent years, tap water has been popular in most provinces. In addition to the governments’ strategies and supports, more and more citizens tend to use tap water instead of bottle water. Thus, this situation makes a contribution to support water sources protection as well. At the same time, some provinces also create policy to promote ability of residents, included: protecting their private wells and with an aim to keep water from contamination, which can enter water through wells.
Above all, water revolution needs time and financial support; the more important is that water protection needs each person’s consideration and responsibility.