Last year with my environmental education class we visited a few places that showed us the journey of our tap water. We wanted to find out where it came from and where it went when we flushed it “down”. First we headed up to the Seymour Reservoir in North Vancouver, which supplies about a third of the region’s drinking water. We enjoyed the crisp air, admired huge Sitka spruce, and contemplated the amazing lifecycle of salmon.
Next we visited our water at the other end of the drain. We toured the largest water treatment plant in the Lower Mainland on Annacis Island and blinked hard when we learned how much water flows through the plant each day. Finally, we walked our water back to the ocean on the path that straddles the pipe at Iona Point.
When I tried to piece it together later, there were still some parts missing in my mind. If I mapped my water’s path underneath the city, what would it look like? What goes in to the transportation of my water? What is lost and added along the way? What is the full impact of sending this polluted-then-somewhat-treated fresh water back to the ocean?