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Walkerton Water Tragedy -- 10 year Anniversary

walkertoncountry muralWalkerton Ontario. Does the name sound familiar? 10 years ago this month, Walkerton was hit with an E. Coli outbreak within the local water supply that devastated this community and rocked our province / country. It also made Walkerton a household name. A first world country with E Coli water contamination, killing people? Impossible! Unfortunately not so. This sleepy little hamlet is only 15 minutes away from where my Father’s farm is (and where we are currently), and for the last 25 years, this has been the home of my Aunt and Uncle. Tonight, we visited Doris and Craig in Walkerton. Currently, this sleepy little town probably has one of the cleanest water systems in Canada (they replaced EVERY water pipe et al after the catastrophe). Not soon thereafter, another outbreak occurred in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Makes one wonder about the officials and Provinces who are allegedly monitoring the quality  of our water source. Don’t even get me started on the Harris Government cutbacks. The source of Walkerton’s bacterial infection occurred from farm runoff into the town’s adjacent well that was known for its vulnerability. Shameful really. And I think back to the YEARS of hassle that my family who lived there at the time (my Grandparents resided in a nursing home where my Brother-in-Law also works) went through. As often as any bathing form was desired, Doris and Craig had to pay for a 11km taxi ride to Hanover in order to accomodate their needs. Shipped in bottled water was used for at least 2-3 years (for cleaning, dishes, drinking, etc).

I debated whether to drink the tap water tonight when Dori and I sat down to play a game of 2-handed Euchre (the boys were intensely focussed on the hockey game between Philadelphia and Bosten). Imagine when the day arrives that safe potable tap water no longer exists? With the ramifications of our declining clean fresh-water supply, how will we cope as a planet, let alone a once unfamiliar hamlet in the middle of South Western Ontario? How does one build up the confidence in our country’s water supply when more and more chemicals, hormones and pharmaceuticals are showing up in OUR tap water! I can’t fully imagine what will happen to the water supply in the Southern US states with the BP oil spill tragedy that doesn’t seem to be coming close to any successful solutions or containment. And the beauty of water …. it travels the WORLD through our eco-system … we are one global climate system, one living and breathing planet. This affects us ALL. Time to ditch the plastics and water bottles (whose sources are just as questionable as our tap water) and come up with solutions. Living in an RV has truly shown me the importance of tapping in to a clean and safe potable source for our water, as we tend to travel with it countrywide within our fresh-water holding tank. Water = precious commodity. Let’s start thinking about what we’re putting in to our water … we are TRULY what we eat AND drink. And any change that you desire must begin with yoU!

2 comments to Walkerton Water Tragedy ~~ a 10 year Anniversary

  • Dawn Beitz

    Great article Kathy! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years already, I don’t think my sister will ever drink my tap water and we live 15 minutes away. Hope all is well and you’re enjoying your travels 🙂

    • skydiva

      Thanks Dawn! We’re enjoying or travels very much so. Even when we’re stationary, there’s so much to do and write about. Would you be interested in coming for a tandem skydive this summer? I think we’ll be working at Skydive Burnaby (near Port Colbourne) and I’d love to see you and Ray come jump with uS. 🙂

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