The taps to Winnipeg's drinking water were first turned on in April 1919, but as the city celebrated its engineering feat and raised glasses of that clear liquid, another community's fortunes suddenly turned dark. Construction of a new aqueduct plunged Shoal Lake 40 into a forced isolation that it is only now emerging from, 100 years after Winnipeg's politicians locked their sights on the water that cradles the First Nation at the Manitoba–Ontario border. "The price that our community has paid for one community to benefit from that resource, it's just mind-boggling," said Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky.
Fifty-five metal barrels, left for decades to deteriorate at the bottom of the Humber Canal, are seeing the light of day this week as Corner Brook Pulp and Paper undertakes a big cleanup. The debris predates the mill's current ownership under Kruger, but the company estimates they've been decaying since about the 1950s, although their presence went undetected until residents raised red flags two years ago. The 11-kilometre canal supplies the Deer Lake Powerhouse, which in turn generates electricity for the mill, and also does double duty as the town of Deer Lake's water supply.
As of Wednesday morning, water levels on Lake Ontario at Cobourg exceeded those seen in the historic 2017 flood. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the water level at Cobourg is 75.92 metres above sea level. At its highest in 2017, the level was 75.88 metres above sea level. “We’re approximately 40 centimetres above normal,” Cobourg Mayor John Henderson said. “With the rain we got this week, I expect that 40 centimetres will be higher, approaching 60 centimetres.”
Wildfire season is getting longer in Alberta every year with climate change, scorching land and polluting the air with thick smoke. But, the City of Calgary is studying another, perhaps less obvious, impact of wildfires — drinking water contamination. There haven't been any major fires in the Bow and Elbow river watersheds, upstream of the City of Calgary, for years. But, there are fears a major fire west of the city could wash burned material into the rivers, impacting the drinking water supply for the city's 1.4 million residents.
Some Calgary business owners are teaming up to help flood victims in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. "Absolutely not kidding. Brought a tear to my eye, absolutely devastating," is how Terry Rawn describes the situation in Rhoddy's Bay, outside of Ottawa. The region has been hit hard by spring flooding in the Ottawa valley — more than 5,000 homes flooded last month.
Dozens of people in the Township of Whitewater Region have been forced from their homes as water levels on the Ottawa River peaked this weekend. The Renfrew County, Ont., township is about 140 kilometres northwest of downtown Ottawa, and includes nearly 90 kilometres of shoreline. About 100 homes have been affected by flooding, Mayor Michael Moore said Sunday.
Residents of a small Saskatchewan town can drink the water coming out of their taps for the first time in nearly nine years thanks to a new water treatment plant. Craik, population 400, has been facing a boil water advisory since August 2010, when the province found its old plant didn’t meet minimum disinfection standards. “Sometimes it was yellow and sometimes it was brown and sometimes there was dirt in it,” one resident recalled.
Over a thousand people poured into the streets of downtown Winnipeg Friday to bring attention to the dozens of First Nations across Canada currently under boil water advisories. Roughly 1,100 people, including more than 800 students from the Seven Oaks School Division, took part, organizers estimate. Carrying signs, the demonstrators walked from city hall down Main Street to Portage Avenue, and then up Memorial Boulevard, before ending at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Even as floodwaters across the region stabilize, health officials are warning people living in flood zones — particularly those who get water from wells — to remain vigilant. Hundreds of homes have been damaged by the devastating floods that have washed through eastern Ontario and western Quebec, forcing residents and volunteers to spend days filling and loading up sandbags to protect their communities.