Waterways-The path of Invermere’s drinking water

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It is recommended that we drink eight glasses a day but as you reach for the tap do you ever think about where our water comes from? Last Tuesday July 26, 19 people were able to find out just that and a whole lot more at Wildsight’s Waterways-The path to Invermere’s drinking water event and tour that went from 10 a.m. until noon and is part of Wildsight’s Fire & Ice program that runs until Nov 20.

“The Fire & Ice program focuses on the 2 major elements of climate change in this area - wildfires and melting glaciers - and how those will impact our lives, wildlife, and our landscapes. Wildsight has been working on climate change impacts and solutions for many years, but this program brings an overall focus in all our events,” said Lianna Ferguson, Program Coordinator at Wildsight Invermere.

Participants met at the Mt. Nelson Athletic Parking Lot where groups then split up for car-pooling. Wildsight Environmental Educator Jessie Caza led the District of Invermere’s water utilities tour where those in attendance were also able to meet her strong team.

“Jessie runs a few programs in the Kootenays that teach kids where their water comes from and how it is and can be further impacted,” said Ferguson. “Last year, Tracy Flynn a Wildsight Invermere board member attended one of these tours and proposed the idea of hosting an event that gives adults the opportunity to learn more about Invermere’s water utilities. Invermere’s water comes from melted ice from the Goldie Creek Watershed, so this event fits in perfectly to our Fire & Ice series. Most of the events in the past have been geared towards kids, so we are excited we could offer something for adults!”

Attendees had the chance to learn about our drinking water, the sewage system, and the impacts of climate change on this system. They had the chance to ask any questions they had whether it may be how water was sanitized or how it gets its distinguishable taste. The tour consisted mostly outdoors with stops at Paddy Ryan Lakes Reservoir, different treatment plants, and the sewage station all located on the unceded territories of the Secwépemc and Ktunaxa People and the land chosen as home by the Métis Peoples of British Columbia.

“An event such as Waterways, that explores the communities drinking water is of paramount importance to the community. Water sustains each one of us, and this community. By learning about the process and our reliance on glaciers, snow melt, aquifers etc, and exploring impacts we may see in the future, we can see clearer how connected we are to the natural world that surrounds us and to work towards better solutions for a sustainable future,” said Ferguson. “We hope that those in attendance took away a better understanding of the process that water takes to get into our homes- it truly is complex and a fascinating one! By learning about the process, we hope people feel more equipped to voice concerns, questions and provide input on development proposals, government regulations and community policies. Our goal is to have those attendees leave with a greater appreciation of water and how vital it is to protect it.”

While the event us free donations are always welcome and will go towards continuing Wildsight’s conservation and climate change projects, including all their events in the Fire & Ice series. For more information on upcoming events go to Wildsight.ca

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Chadd Cawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer

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