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.

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

Just Posted

Flags lowered in honour of the late Bill McRae

Community leader, businessman passed away July 9

LETTER: Terrace mayor cites Bill McRae’s accomplishments

“Hard work and incredible character became a gift to the City of Terrace.”

Royal LePage Aspire Realty buys office in Terrace

Owner Rod Mcleod said the move will increase connectivity in northern B.C.

Ferry Island Campground in Terrace now open to out of province visitors

Decision based on recommendations from the provincial government

Infinite Ice’s holistic hockey program returning to Terrace in August

COVID-19 precautions in place for on-ice training, meditation, yoga and nutrition classes

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read