Imagine not being able to use water from the tap without boiling it first. Not being able to take a bath. Or, worrying about your children being afflicted by E.coli poisoning. These sound like third-world country issues, yet that’s the reality in up to 1,766 Canadian communities with unsafe water, The Globe and Mail reports.
Steve E. Hrudey, Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health, argues in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that, “we’re allowing a two-tier system of water supply, roughly split along the urban–rural divide.”
“Providing consistently safe drinking water requires well-resourced treatment systems and highly trained personnel, yet we download this responsibility to local governments,” he says. “Larger municipalities generally do well, but many smaller and more remote communities simply cannot cope with all the technical and managerial challenges.”
It’s time that our federal and provincial governments turned on the funding tap to deliver larger regional drinking water authorities and modern remote monitoring technology. After all, as Hrudey says, “Safe community drinking water is one of our best public health investments.”
If you’re as outraged as I am about this situation, send a message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and your MP/MLA via The Council of Canadians’ website. Because everyone—and every Canadian—has the right to clean water.