In the Lower Mainland, our watersheds are protected from the influx of industrial pollutants and dumping by people. Effluents affecting the creeks and streams that feed the reservoirs are not generally a concern, but water supply is. In the summers, water restrictions come into effect. In a rain forest ecosystem this is difficult to understand.

There is a problem that can affect all of us in BC, however, and that is infestation of the water by parasites. If you think that it's only people who live in distant nations who get sick from their drinking water, think again!! The great worry is the stomach and intestinal problems caused by Giardia and Cryptosporidium that get into the water from animal and human feces. They are so tiny that conventional filtration methods may not catch them and there is no reliable way to test for these on an ongoing basis. Students outside of the Lower Mainland may live in a communities where there is a 'boil water' advisory. If you look in the PACIFIC PERSPECTIVES cube of the Discovery Box, you'll see that these parasites can effect people in urban areas as well.

The video and poster below can help those of us in the Pacific region think about how everything we do affects the water as it flows from the mountain peaks down to the ocean.

Sea to Summit: A Journey through the Watershed

Surrey is at the 'end of the water pipeline' so to speak as we are the city that is farthest from our water source. Few residents know much about where their tap water comes from, where or how it is purified, or what standards and testing must be met. The opinion that "Surrey water" is bad water is widely held. If residents can avoid drinking it, they do. Many have water delivered, invest in water purification equipment, or buy bottled water off the grocery store shelves. If you look in the Diigo list, you'll find lots of sources to help you understand the issues that confront people who live in Surrey (water meters, pesticide spraying, water shortages in the summer, water quality standards and maintenance, conservation and protection and so on).

Start by going to the map at this link: to answer these questions to start with:
1) Where does our water come from?
2) What is the relationship between biodiversity, water sources and garbage dumps in the Lower Mainland?

Students will be taken on field trips to: our local watershed, the water purification plant for the metro area, to talk to Surrey engineers about what additional disinfectants are added to the water that make it taste bad, and for seaside water testing.