Health Canada has amended its drinking water quality guidelines resulting in Williams Lake’s water being slightly above the maximum acceptable concentrations for manganese. File photo

EDITORIAL: A precious resource

This week the City was forced to issue a water quality advisory due to the amount of manganese

An independent report released this week concluded the Ministry of Health and Provincial Health Officer are not doing enough to protect drinking water in the province.

The Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia released the report: The Protection of Drinking Water: An Independent Audit.

Auditor general Carol Bellringer said the report was undertaken “because of the considerable importance of safe drinking water and because the risks to drinking water are increasing.”

She said climate change, industrial activity and a growing population all have an impact on B.C.’s drinking water.

While she said the ministry has taken some action to mitigate risks to drinking water, more needs to be done. Specifically, the ministry does not know which water systems are at risk and has not developed a strategy to address them.

READ MORE: Williams Lake’s drinking water manganese slightly above new Health Canada guidelines

Bellringer said risks of contamination are intensified in small water systems where some communities may struggle to afford sufficient water protection systems and find staff who are qualified in water treatment.

The office made eight recommendations in the report to safeguard drinking water.

This week the City of Williams Lake was forced to issue a water quality advisory due to the amount of manganese in the city’s water supply after new research has shown too much of the essential mineral can have adverse affects on infants and young children.

The new stance could end up costing the city millions.

As the jury is still out for many as to whether manganese in our water is harmful, it does highlight the ongoing endeavors being made to ensure our water is the best it can be, and for that we are thankful.

— Williams Lake Tribune

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