Prince Rupert was issued a boil water notice on Dec. 14. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

In Our Opinion: All we want for Christmas is some clean water

Comment on the boil water notice in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert has a lot of water but right now that’s one resource residents aren’t taking for granted.

Last Friday, a teeny, tiny little parasite found in poop infiltrated city water and now none of us can drink it, or wash our dishes with it, or let our pets drink it. Exposure to giardia and cryptosporidium can lead to side effects of ‘beaver fever’ – gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and all that kind of joy.

Merry Christmas Prince Rupert, you are now paying for one of the best summers to date. It’s the yin and the yang. We had sun, minimal days of rain, and then all at once the water returned with a vengeance. Now that stormy weather has turned up something awful — aka poop — from somewhere near the lake where we get our water from. The City of Prince Rupert is saying it’s okay to wash your clothes in it, but we’ll pass. The boil water notice is only supposed to last about a week anyway.

But a week can feel like a long time.

In Prince Rupert, December is the ultimate pot luck season. Holiday parties fill every weekend. Co-workers, friends, family and pets tend to mingle in an effort to keep the lack-of-sun blues away. Now, we have to hope and pray that our guests are washing their veggies and plates with boiled water, or washing their hands with boiled, then cooled, water. It’s such an inconvenience.

READ MORE: Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

For some of us, we can skip that whole boiling recommendation and stock up on bottled water. Single-use plastic and pollution, who cares. Let’s buy that stuff up by the caseload. Seeing the empty shelves at the grocery stores over the weekend made it seem like we were entering the apocalypse. Maybe some of those shoppers are on to something. This nasty water could last longer than a week. Better grab that clean bottled water just in case.

But then there’s those residents who tried the boiling water approach, took one look at the yellowish water and couldn’t shake the icky feeling when they took a sip. Shawatlan Lake doesn’t have the clearest of water — we’ve written about it before. Yet, we still have to drink from it for the foreseeable future while the city works on the Woodworth Lake Dam replacement project, expected to cost 2.5 times higher than the city expected.

Let this be a lesson to all of us here in Prince Rupert. For this week, let’s consider that Dodge Cove has been under a boil-water notice since 1988, and more than 100 First Nations communities across Canada that don’t have access clean water. We can at least hope for clean water by Christmas.

RELATED: City inks $6.9M water contract



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