Deals with Issues Facing
The Times-Herald (Moose Jaw)
October 4, 2003
is often taken for granted in
, but an eye-opening forum held by the Council of
Canadians Friday shed some light on the myriad of issues around the
conservation and supply of our water.
, an engineer and National Water Campaigner for the
Council of Canadians, was the first speaker. Ehrhardt, who has worked on
an international scale with Engineers Without Borders, spoke of the global
issues surrounding our water supply, such as control, co-modification and
a fight for control of our water, there's a fight to keep our water
public, and there's a fight to keep our water from becoming a good,"
told the group that
has the largest remaining fresh water resources in the
that comes a great responsibility to be good stewards of that water,"
she said. "And I don't think that, in
, we have done a very good job of that."
warned that it's important for the public to keep an eye on their water
sources and fight the inclination of provinces and municipalities to
privatize or become bulk water suppliers, effectively selling the water
out from under them.
used the example of a village in northern
where she had once worked. The villagers eventually
abandoned the site because they had no access to clean drinking water.
was good clean water in that area," explained Ehrhardt. "But it
wasn't owned by the people who lived in the area, so they couldn't drink
, explored the effects of factory farming on the water
the Council of Canadians National Organizer on Factory Farms, is based in
. She used the example of hog barns in
to illustrate the concerns with the large-scale
looking at water supply issues with factory farms and water contamination
issues with factory farms," said Holtslander.
noted that the connection between surface water and ground water is not
one that people automatically make, meaning things like manure drainage on
a hog farm aren't always perceived as threats to drinking water.
really connects things, and anything that threatens water is a big
threat," said Holtslander.
explained that the hog manure is filled with nitrogens and phosphorous as
well as antibiotics, hormones and heavy metals that end up in surface
water and can sometimes seep from sewage lagoons.
said a large problem with the industry is the loose restrictions placed by
is very little regulation in the intensive livestock industry in
Saskatchewan," she said, explaining that development of these factory
farms is approved by Saskatchewan Agriculture, Saskatchewan Environ-ment,
SaskWater, and other government departments only serve an advisory role in
said there's a push toward self-regulation by the corporations, which
takes the results of any environmental monitoring out of the reach of the
also said that Sask Agriculture has a high stake in promoting these
industries in the province, which leads to less vigilance.
a desire to make a profit on these enterprises, so there's a severe
conflict of interest when it comes to regulating these hog barns." An
example she provided was of a Big Valley Hog Barn that moved into the
. The barn development was approved without an
identified water supply. A deal was eventually struck to buy the town's
reservoir, causing the town to apply for government grants to build an
$800,000 pipeline to supply their citizens with water.
Robart, the assistant engineer for the city of
, shifted the focus to local infrastructure and water
supply. Robart told the group the city of
purchases its water from the Buffalo Pound water
treatment plant, which is considered "state of the art in water
treatment." In 2002 the city purchased a total of 1.3 billion gallons
from the facility.
Robart really comes into the equation is looking after the extensive
infrastructure that delivers that water to the city residents.
city has endeavoured to ensure that the water that is delivered is as
clean as it was when it left the plant," he said.
responsibilities include ensuring there is adequate supply to the city and
that the water is delivered at an acceptable pressure.
said while the city has surpassed provincial requirements in certifying
its operators at the treatment plant, there are long-range plans he'd like
like to see a second pipeline flow from the plant," said Robart,
saying it would ensure an uninterrupted service should anything go wrong
with the aging pipeline that exists.
said the city also wants to adopt a water quality control insurance policy
and provide local access to its water testing data on a forum like a Web
page. He said the city will also conclude a water distribution assessment
in the new year.
think it's important, as the purveyors of water, that we consider all
components of the system and how they work together," he said.
"As well, I think it's important that the public realize the hard
work and the hard dollars that are necessary to keep a water system
sustainable and safe."
Corbett, the program head for the civil department at SIAST Palliser,
explained the different water-related programs that are available at the
water and wastewater technology certificate is available through distance
education since 2001. The certification is the one required for water
treatment plant operators under new provincial regulations.
intent (of the course) is to prepare the operator to meet the
certification requirements," said Corbett.
also offers diplomas in Water Resources Engineering Technology and
Environmental Engineering Technology.
evening concluded with a question and answer period, mostly centered on
issues of accountability for and monitoring of water resources.