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B.C. not sufficiently protecting drinking water, says auditor general

Last Updated Jul 30, 2019 at 11:00 am PDT

FILE - In this Friday Jan. 7, 2011 file photo, water flows from a water fountain in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)
Summary

There's currently no strategy in place for when contaminated water is found

A legislative review has been recommended

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – A new report from British Columbia’s auditor general says more needs to be done to keep our drinking water clean.

Carol Bellringer says she has “grave concerns” about current practices to monitor drinking water, and the Ministry of Health and the provincial health officer are not sufficiently protecting drinking water for the people of B.C.

While there’s been no water-borne illness in this province since 2004, Bellringer says the ministry hasn’t kept track of which systems are at risk.

There’s also no strategy in place for when contaminated water is found, and the report says just one water contamination event could cause serious health impacts for many people.

Eight recommendations have been made, including a legislative review and five directed at the Health Ministry. She wants it to provide better leadership on water protection and to develop a strategic plan to ensure safe drinking water.

She says contamination risks are intensified in B.C.’s estimated 4,800 small water systems where government oversight has been limited.

The Ministry of Health says in response that it accepts that a government-wide commitment to a drinking water strategy will increase protections for British Columbians.