British Columbia’s Interior Health (IH) has launched a real-time, interactive water advisory map, enabling people to search the entire IH region for current drinking water advisories. Users 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,” said 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 http://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.
IH 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.