Updated guide follows our drinking water from source to tap

An updated guide that explores drinking water from source to tap is being launched Monday.

THIS WARNING SIGN asks people to be careful what they put into Comox Lake.

An updated guide that explores drinking water from source to tap is being launched Monday.Wedler Engineering water policy and research specialist Sonya Jenssen has completed the 2011 Comox Valley Drinking Water Reference Guide, and she is hosting a launch for the guide Oct. 3 from 5 to 6 p.m. at The Freakin’ Coffeeshop at 106-2456 Rosewall Cres. in Courtenay’s Tin Town.The event is open to the public, and Jenssen says it will be very casual, as people are invited to drop in any time during that hour to talk to her, look through a hard copy of the guide and look at the three-dimensional watershed map.The 2011 Comox Valley Drinking Water Reference Guide is online now at www.waterresearch.ca.North Island College has just picked up the guide and will make it available to its students, while a professor at Okanagan College will use the guide in her environmental law course, according to Jenssen.Jenssen hopes that people find the guide inspiring. She — and the funders — would like to see a guide like this in every community.”My ultimate hope would be that (readers) are inspired and passionate to learn more about water and understanding its importance,” she said. “Water really does touch everything. I think it’s really fascinating, and I think every living thing has dependence on water.”I hope you feel inspired and you think about how you treat water …. and understand it’s a whole source-to-tap process and there’s hundreds of people behind every glass of water you drink working in every capacity.”The guide covers topics such as challenges to water management, federal and provincial jurisdiction related to drinking water and water supply systems in the Valley.Jenssen also produced the 2007 Comox Valley Drinking Water Reference Guide as part of the Comox Valley Water Watch Coalition.”Through that group, we realized there needed to be an overview of drinking water sources for the general public,” she said.The 2007 guide was funded by Vancouver Island Water Watch, Project Watershed Society and the local chapter of the Council of Canadians.The 2011 guide, which updates the 2007 guide and includes a new chapter, was funded by Vancouver Island Water Watch.”2007 and 2011 are definitely different guides,” said Jenssen. “2011 is slightly more geared toward a student water researcher … I had a slightly different audience in mind. I added a chapter looking at different levels of treatment.”The 2007 guide inspired a similar guide in Port Alberni, which was launched this March, explained Jenssen.Jenssen attended the Port Alberni guide launch and met the funders, who wanted to update the 2007 Comox Valley guide and distribute it together with the Port Alberni guide.Jenssen has seen a growing awareness about water protection, water sources and water infrastructure in the past four years.”I feel very positive about these changes that are happening, and I think that’s a good thing,” she said. “There’s a growing awareness, and with that comes respect.”Jenssen has been with Wedler since January, when she was brought in to work on the Comox Lake Water Protection Plan, which is in its draft stages.She completed her masters degree in water resources and coastal management at the University of Bergen in Norway.She did her thesis in Jordan and worked in Norway before coming back to Canada. Jenssen became involved in the Comox Valley Water Watch Coalition after attending a water conference in Qualicum in 2006 and then created the 2007 Comox Valley Drinking Water Reference Guide.”You’ll never get bored working with water,” she said.To see the 2011 Comox Valley Drinking Water Reference Guide or contact Jenssen, visit www.waterresearch.ca.writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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