Submitted by Chiara Cipriano
While there is an increasing awareness of where our food comes from, for many of us the origin of our tap water remains puzzling. Perhaps one explanation is that here in the Elk Valley most of the drinking water we depend on is drawn from inconspicuous underground reservoirs.
Although 80 per cent of Canadians living in rural areas rely on groundwater reservoirs, there is little knowledge about them. It is easy to become disillusioned by the abundance of fresh surface water we see around us, however, Canada does not even have more freshwater than the archipelago of Indonesia – both share this status in a tie having 6.5 per cent. Another water abundance myth can be dispelled since more than half our surface water flows north to the Arctic, while 80 per cent of Canadians live in the south along the U.S. border.
It is important to understand the origin of our water and respect its limitation to recharge underground reservoirs or aquifers. Excessive use can degrade water quality and over time lower water tables.
In Fernie, tap water comes from Fairy Creek, from an underground spring. Due to increasing demand and spring turbidity two new wells will be added as security to Fernie’s supply in James White Park, beside the Elk River. In Sparwood, water is drawn up through two wells at Mackenzie Springs and another in Sparwood proper, and Elkford has four groundwater wells that support this community.
In the summer our water usage tends to increase due to outdoor watering. One way to use this valuable resource more efficiently is to water your garden in the morning between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. This is the time when plants can most readily absorb water. High afternoon temperatures increase evaporation and limit absorption time, while watering late at night can invite mold and mildews to grow on roots. Regardless of where we live in the Elk Valley, we must remember to be conscientious of our usage, and stay well-grounded, respecting wherever our water comes from.
The Elk River Alliance is committed to protecting Elk Valley water. For more water conservation tips or to get involved, visit our website www.elkriveralliance.ca or like us on Facebook.