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

Just Posted

Terrace Special Olympics host first annual Sports Day

Many carnival-style games took place

Terrace students hold city accountable for safer bike lanes

Skeena Middle School students biked to city hall to present their report

Terrace-area gold project shows strong promise

Juggernaut Exploration hopes this year’s drilling will follow last year’s exceptional program

Kitselas votes Judy Gerow as new chief councillor

Chief and council members elected June 12

Community gathers at two Terrace schools to protest SD82

Participants carried signs reading ‘We demand transparency’

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read