The map can zoom in on any area. Above, Kimberley is under a water quality advisory.

The map can zoom in on any area. Above, Kimberley is under a water quality advisory.

Interior Health launches water advisory map

In a first-of-its-kind project in Canada, Interior Health has launched a real-time, interactive water advisory map, enabling people to search the entire Interior Health region for current drinking water advisories. They can also learn more about IH water suppliers, types of advisories, and the reasons for these advisories.

Given the challenges to water suppliers from current flooding in the region, the launch of the map is especially timely in providing a valuable resource to help protect residents from waterborne illnesses.

“Not everyone across IH has peace of mind that the water that comes out of their tap is safe. With this map, individuals are provided accessible and up-to-date information on their water quality,” says IH Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Trevor Corneil. “If there’s an advisory on their system, they can make informed decisions related to possible health risks. This level of understanding is also important, as local communities discuss future investments in their public and private water systems.”

Accessible at www.drinkingwaterforeveryone.ca, the map was built for and with the community. It is the product of extensive stakeholder engagement and study of the region’s drinking water systems, initially presented by Interior Health in its June 2017 report, “Drinking Water in Interior Health”.

One of the report’s key recommendations was to develop and implement a more collaborative engagement process with water operators and other members of the community.

Interior Health addressed this recommendation by engaging a wide range of stakeholders, including community members, water suppliers and operators, Environmental Health Officers, and representatives from organizations supporting water suppliers, municipalities, and other health authorities, via surveys, key informant interviews, focus groups, and user testing of the interactive water map.

Based on the feedback provided, Interior Health created the interactive map which is now live and can be accessed at www.drinkingwaterforeveryone.ca. The map is compatible with Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Interior Health is encouraging all residents to view the map, type in their community and get to know their water supplier.

Interior Health is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and providing a wide range of quality health-care services to more than 740,000 people living across B.C.’s vast interior. For more information, visit www.interiorhealth.ca, follow us on Twitter @Interior_Health, or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/InteriorHealth.

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