Technology team nets award

One can craft any number of sentimental lines for the importance of water: the essence of life, nature’s gift — and the list could surely go on.

By Sean Kolenko

One can craft any number of sentimental lines for the importance of water: the essence of life, nature’s gift — and the list could surely go on.

But that doesn’t stop us from taking it for granted.

It’s there when the tap is turned on, when the fridge is opened and in the bathroom when it’s shower time. And it’s clean.

For small First Nations communities on the outer reaches of B.C., however, the discussion surrounding water and its cleanliness is often of greater importance.

Many such communities operate small water filtration systems, free of municipal investment and operation, that aren’t effective, says Heather Bohn of the Tsimshian First Nation.

Enter the WaterKeeper training tool, launched in 2009 and funded by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Designed to support and teach operators of small water systems to provide clean water to First Nations communities, WaterKeeper is an interactive 3-D website that runs the gamut of water operations — from the required math skills to treatment options.

It also displays a list of water keepers throughout B.C., their contacts and any applicable areas of expertise.

At the 2011 Serious Games Conference in Redmond, Wash., WaterKeeper became an award winner earning a bronze medal for “distinguishing superior examples of corporate, military, healthcare or school at home.” Also recognized at the conference were programs from the Netherlands and the United States.

Bohn did the 3-D modelling for WaterKeeper. She said the job was an eye-opening initiative that illustrates the importance of clean water for rural communities.

“It really brought to light the importance of water,” said Bohn, who works in West Vancouver.

“The water operator in my community back home [near Terrace] mentioned the job’s about family. It’s a passion not a job.”

North Vancouver’s Russ Baker, WaterKeeper’s executive producer, hailed the product as a collaborative effort.

The University of Victoria offered those working on the tool the use of a media lab on its campus, while interns from First Nations communities also worked on the project.

For more information or to view WaterKeeper, visit www.fnwk.ca.

Just Posted

Prince Rupert shuttle service set to get underway

New shuttle bus between Prince Rupert and Terrace

Cats shot with BB gun in separate Thornhill incidents

The pets were shot in their own yards, neighbours say

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Terrace RCMP busy over Riverboat Days weekend

Large number of files involve underage drinking

Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce celebrates big win for LNG

Federal government moves on recommendation to provide relief on steel duties

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Most Read