New report assesses drinking water supply

Interior Health regulates over 1,500 large and small drinking water systems in the region - and has released a report into how water safety can be improved.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Trevor Corneil says the ten-year study looked at a variety of public health concerns, including the use of water advisories - and discovered relying on advisories alone to keep people safe was not enough.

Dr. Corneil says the goal for Interior Health is to work with water operators, government, and the public to move towards improving water systems. 

"It's not acceptable that every day of the year, a portion of your population needs to boil their water; that every day of a given year, people are getting sick because of unsafe water," he says.

Dr. Corneil says recommendations include improved water source protection, developing response plans to help protect public health during unexpected situations, and infrastructure upgrades.   

"We're here to support the water purveyors in applying for the necessary grants - both provincial and federal funding opportunities - to move the infrastructure to a place where we don't have to worry about the water we drink," he says.

Interior Health is also launching a public awareness campaign which includes a web page http://drinkingwaterforeveryone.ca/ and a series of educational videos that provide information on how the water systems work, how water is treated, and safety issues.