Know the Water You Drink

Vancouver Island Health Authority, March 19, 2014

ISLAND WIDE –   Where does your drinking water come from? Do you know? This year’s Canada Water Week theme “Watersheds 101” aims to celebrate World Water Day (March 22) by educating Canadians about their watersheds and the drinking water systems they serve.  Canadian Geographic defines a watershed as “an area of land where all the surface water drains into the same place, whether it’s a creek, a stream, a river or an ocean.” That means that no matter where you are in Canada, you’re standing in a watershed.

For Dr. Paul Hasselback, medical health officer responsible for drinking water on the Island, “it is important to know your water system, and remember that anytime you come in contact with fresh water on the Island, it could become someone’s drinking water. Surface and recreational activities can have significant impact on water quality. ” 

Understanding your watershed and the drinking water systems it serves

On Vancouver Island, there are 898 drinking water systems. At least 150 of these systems are from surface water sources which supply drinking water to larger municipalities such as Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Campbell River, Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino.

Midsized municipal systems such as the City of Duncan, parts of North Cowichan, North Cedar and most rural areas on the Island rely on groundwater as the source for their drinking water.        

Watershed protection    

Watershed protections are in place on Vancouver Island to protect drinking water originating from surface water. Protection measures can include closing the watershed to the public, regulating or zoning it, and providing education to the public about protecting open watersheds as vital resources for everyone. 

Everyone can take steps protect our watersheds 

Around the house, you can protect your watershed by reducing the amount of pesticides and fertilizers you use on your lawn, conserve water, store and dispose of harmful materials properly. 

Clean drinking water is one of our most precious resources. Know where yours comes from and do your part to protect it!

More information

Find your Watershed (Canadian Geographic Interactive maps)

Canada Water Week

Island Health water sampling information and inspections

Water Wells & Surface Flooding:


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