The hospital bed in Nepal where I waited to see a doctor for three hours while suffering from a giardia infection in Dec. 2012. (Shannon Lough photo)

COLUMN: My relationship with water

Reflecting on recovering from giardia in Nepal, and other close encounters with contaminated water

When I found out about the boil water notice, I had just drank about half of my water bottle full of Prince Rupert tap water. At first I was concerned. I’m still haunted by my date with beaver fever in Nepal, and many other pleasantries that are often a traveller’s right of passage in many parts of the world.

Having access to clean drinking water should be a human right, and it has been declared as such by the United Nations. However, there are millions of people around the world, including First Nations in Canada, who don’t have access to that right. There are 65 long-term drinking water advisories on reserves in this country, as of Dec. 14, according to Indigenous Services Canada. It has been over a decade since Prince Rupert has experienced a short-term advisory or notice on its water.

In 2014, I spent a month in northern India where the entire village lived with contaminated water, and I had no idea until after a couple weeks of washing my clothes my skin began to react in a rather irritating way. The local nurse told me that it was because my skin wasn’t used to their water. Fortunately, I was able to leave and recover. Yet my friends in that village didn’t all have the same option.

RELATED: Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

As a teenager, I worked in a general store in a country village. We had an E. coli contamination in the water there, and the taps were shut right off. My boss at the time didn’t want to risk boiling water, so everything came from a treated water jug.

Once again, the boil water notice came and went.

Having to brush your teeth with water that has been boiled, or came from a grocery store, has taken me back to the many places I’ve visited in Asia where that was the norm.

We are so lucky in Prince Rupert to be able to drink straight from the tap — save this week — or collect delicious rain water outside.

There is water everywhere. My car doesn’t need to be washed, ever, and that surge of rainwater we just got is now turning the mountains into playgrounds for ski bums. This boil water notice is just a blip in the system to remind us of how great we have it here, when the water is clean. But I’ll rejoice when the city’s massive water project is complete and we can drink from Woodworth Lake again.

RELATED COLUMN: Move over DiCaprio, we found the beach



shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heart of Our City – Krysta Ostrom

Fourth generation of family to give heart to Prince Rupert

Pretivm Resources reports fatality at Brucejack mine

The isolated incident occurred last Friday, and the employee passed away on Sunday in hospital

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Province restricts non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii amid COVID outbreak

Provincial staff will help enforce travel restrictions from islands, mainland

Strong season but no market for B.C.’s spot prawn fishers

Sector hopeful low prices will catch the eye of local prawn lovers

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Racism in B.C. healthcare: Deadline for First Nations survey coming up on Aug. 6

Survey comes after hospital staff allegedly played a blood alcohol guessing game

‘We want to help’: As overdose deaths spike, beds lay empty at long-term Surrey rehab centre

John Volken Academy searching for ‘students’ to enlist in two-year residential treatment program

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

Most Read