Drinking Water QualityProtection of drinking water is legislated under the Drinking Water Protection Act which governs drinking water from source to tap. Potable water must meet the Drinking Water Protection Regulation to be deemed safe to drink and fit for domestic purposes. The health of the environment is tied directly to drinking water quality and is therefore also directly linked to public health.
Drinking Water InfrastructureInfrastructure renewal and expansion is a fundamental component in providing British Columbians with a dependable supply of safe drinking water. The Local Government Department supports the development of sustainable drinking water infrastructure with two types of grants: Infrastructure Planning Grants and Capital Grants. The Infrastructure Planning Grant Program provides local governments with grants up to $10,000 to study the feasibility and planning for sustainable drinking water projects. Eligible drinking water projects include, but are not limited to:
Water ConservationBritish Columbians consume 30% more water than the average Canadian. Though British Columbia is considered "water rich," much of this water is not directly accessible and/or costs associated with treatment and distribution are prohibitive. The perception of an endless supply of fresh water, together with pricing structures that undervalues the true cost of water, has encouraged a pattern of overconsumption and water waste.
Demand-side management is a strategy which aims to reduce water
waste by using a host of polices, technologies and programs to encourage
efficient water use. Effective water conservation strategies results in communities using less water to provide the same services
Water conservation reduces water system operations and maintenance costs which
saves money for end users. Reduced water demand conserves limited supplies and may
enable water purveyors to defer large scale capital infrastructure projects such as
Water conservation strategies need strong education campaigns that inform users of
low-flow appliances, sprinkling regulations and other demand-side conservation
measures such as water metering. The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)
Conservation Plan Guidelines is a useful tool for developing community water
conservation plans. The US EPA also offers useful resources on
how conservation promotes cleaner water
and the benefits of
efficient water use.
Several British Columbian communities have developed conservation plans that incorporate water saving tips, regulations, policies and innovative technologies. Water conservation plans are now a mandatory requirement for local governments receiving capital grant funds for drinking water infrastructure. The following are examples of successful local government water conservation plans and programs:
To help promote water conservation, the provincial government has developed the following:
The Local Government Department advances provincial water conservation goals
through partnerships, grant programs, policies, and by developing tools such as
a water conservation calculator. The Department’s involvement
with the BC Water and Waste
Association’s Water Sustainability Committee has helped produce
web-based water conservation clearing house provides a host of tools and resources
that encourages water conservation through all aspects of water management.
The Local Government Department works with all levels of government as well as
non-government organizations to help move British Columbia towards a more sustainable
approach to managing water resources.