The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) invites all residents to learn more about our community’s drinking water system and what you can do to protect it. Drinking Water Week is just around the corner, and from May 6 to 12, a series of events, including library workshops and a film screening will be happening across Whistler.
Whistler’s drinking water begins as rainfall and snowmelt in the surrounding mountains, draining into Rainbow Lake and ultimately 21 Mile Creek. There are also 14 wells distributed across the community. This combination of surface and groundwater is treated and distributed to homes and businesses in Whistler. Delivering safe drinking water requires constant monitoring and maintenance to ensure water quality consistently meets Canadian drinking water guidelines.
The RMOW is responsible for the water distribution system up to the property line, and after delivery to the property line, property owners are responsible for maintaining private plumbing systems.
The provincial Ministry of Health has introduced interim guidelines that suggest new testing protocols to determine the levels of various metals in drinking water after it has been delivered to residents. The risk of metals leaching into water results from a combination of three variables: water stagnation time, pipe material and water corrosivity. These interim guidelines could become a new requirement for water suppliers across the province, if they are adopted by the federal government after a period of consultation. Water managers across B.C., including the RMOW, are reviewing the interim guidelines and sharing feedback with Vancouver Coastal Health.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said, “I encourage Whistler residents to learn more about drinking water and what it means for them during Drinking Water Week,” She added, “We are committed to evidence-based decision-making and are reviewing the interim guidelines, which will inform future water management planning.”
At this time, the RMOW would like to remind residents of the Vancouver Coastal Health recommendation to freshen tap water by running it until it is cold. Water conservation continues to be a priority for the RMOW, and everyone is encouraged to seek opportunities to reuse and reduce water whenever possible. The updated outdoor potable water use bylaw is intended to reduce unnecessary water use when and where it makes the biggest difference.
Climate change is causing the summers in Whistler to be longer, hotter and drier than ever before, which will impact water supply. At the same time, it is important to increase source water protection in the 21 Mile watershed area, particularly as visitation increases to the Rainbow Lake area. Residents are reminded to obey all signage and report any restricted activities that could threaten the area, including camping and campfires. The RMOW is taking a proactive approach to water conservation with new conservation policies being introduced later this year. Learn more at whistler.ca/waterpolicy.
Drinking Water Week Events
Whistler Drinking Water and What it Means for You, May 6–12, Whistler Public Library
From May 6 to 12 all youth programming—including Family Time Together, story times, and craft activities—will incorporate a water theme. Come and learn about the water cycle and what you can do to protect drinking water in Whistler.
Drinking water guidelines, presentation to Council, May 8, Maury Young Arts Centre
Staff will present an update on drinking water guidelines at the regular council meeting at 5:30 p.m. The council agenda will be posted online on May 4.
Value of Water, with feature film Quantum of Solace, May 11, Rainbow Theatre
On May 11, the RMOW is hosting a fun night of learning about Whistler’s water supply. Doors open at 6 p.m. and community partners, as well as staff, will be available to answer your questions about water quality and conservation. At 7 p.m., Quantum of Solace will be shown on the big screen to remind us all about the importance of protecting Whistler’s public water infrastructure. The movie is appropriate for adults only, so dress in your best and arrive early because space is limited. Tickets are available at the door by donation to AWARE.
Learn more at whistler.ca/drinkingwater.