Good Clean Water is Important for Life

Thunder Bay has issued Water Survey Report

Thunder Bay has issued Water Survey ReportTHUNDER BAY – My favourite drink is water (nipi in Cree). Just plain old water is my choice for refreshing myself and quenching my thirst. Water is life giving and without it we would not survive long. As a matter of fact although a person can survive about a month without food, death would occur in only a week without water. We really need water as it transports nutrients in our body and is necessary for circulation. Clean daily water intake may actually reduce the risk of getting some cancers.

We drink a lot of water and that is a good idea. The suggested water intake for a person is about eight cups a day. If you really overdo it and drink way too much water you can actually get intoxicated and poisoned on it. Most of us get more than 8 cups a day because we are drinking beverages like coffee, tea, juice and soft drinks which of course contain mostly water.

Amazingly our bodies are made up of about 70 percent water. That means we are almost totally constructed of water but we rarely think about that. Although 75 percent of the earth is covered in water, we can’t use much of it and we get most of our water from aquifers underground that hold the most water on the planet.

Thirsty? Water in the North is expensive.
Thirsty? Water in the North is expensive.

Most of us get our water from public utilities in towns and cities. This water is treated with chemicals and filtered before it reaches our taps at home. There have been incidents where the water systems have been contaminated and that has made people sick and in some cases led to fatalities. The town of Walkerton experienced a tragic problem with E.coli contamination in May 2000 which resulted in five fatalities and 2,500 people got sick. Cities and towns do their best to make our drinking water safe but it is a constant struggle and challenge to maintain safe and healthy water distribution.

Incredibly most of the populated world and mainly third world countries do not provide clean and safe water to their people. When I travelled to Asia and Europe I was always warned not to drink the tap water in most countries and to not even use it to brush my teeth. At times even when I showered in some third world countries I was aware that the water could be contaminated and unhealthy. We take clean and safe water for granted here in Canada when amazingly most people on the planet don’t have that luxury.

When I was young and living up in Attawapiskat on James Bay we got our water from the river and had to fetch it in buckets. In the winter we had to maintain a hole in the ice in the main channel of the river to have access to drinking water. There was always regular traffic of people in the community going back and forth to fill their buckets with water all year around. The community had to rely on this manner of getting fresh drinking water until the 1990s. Imagine, while most people in Canada had enjoyed the luxury of running water and toilets in their homes for about a hundred years or so we only got those services in the 1990s. Incredibly, even after a water facility was put in there were so many problems with the quality it resulted in many people continuing to fetch their water from the river. When I moved south to cities and towns like Timmins, North Bay and Iroquois Falls it was great to be able to have clean water to drink at anytime right from the tap.

These days I am getting very picky about the water I drink. I don’t like a heavy chlorine taste and in particular when it is obvious in my coffee and tea. I have been buying a lot of bottled water because I don’t like the taste of tap water in just about any city or town I visit. The problem is that I have been paying a lot for bottled water and when it comes to the small size throwaway plastic containers the result is a ton of garbage. Some of this plastic is recycled but much of it ends up in landfill. That definitely can not be a good thing.

Recently, I decided to purchase and install an inline water filtration system to make my home tap water better in quality and to stop me from buying bottled water. These days, there are several options for water filtration systems for your home. They are cheap and easy to install. Now I am confident in my drinking water and I am saving a lot of money as I don’t purchase bottled water anymore. Also, I am not creating huge amounts of plastic garbage. I do love my water.

Xavier Kataquapit

Previous articleCancer Care Bus Out of Service
Next articleHere’s what happens when I write about parenting a child with autism
Under The Northern Sky is the title of a popular Aboriginal news column written by First Nation writer, Xavier Kataquapit, who is originally from Attawapiskat Ontario on the James Bay coast. He has been writing the column since 1997 and it is is published regularly in newspapers across Canada. In addition to working as a First Nation columnist, his writing has been featured on various Canadian radio broadcast programs. Xavier writes about his experiences as a First Nation Cree person. He has provided much insight into the James Bay Cree in regards to his people’s culture and traditions. As a Cree writer, his stories tell of the people on the land in the area of Attawapiskat First Nation were he was born and raised.