Blooming algae threatens water in Kelowna BC

Just a few miles north of the U.S. border, residents in the western part of the city of Kelowna are in the middle of an invasion of algae blooms that are threatening the quality of the water coming out of the  taps of the city.

Too much organic material in a city’s drinking water is a fast track to disease, and an offer to water customers to fill their containers for free is being taken seriously. Even then, tap water should be boiled for at least a minute before it is used by children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, the City of West Kelowna says.

Water available from the temporary system comes from the Westbank treatment plant, which uses filtration, radiation and chlorination to render the water drinkable.

The algae bloom is expected to dissipate as colder weather sets in, city spokesperson Kirsten Jones says.

– Kelowna Daily Courier

Good water turning bad

Scientists writing for The Journal of Public Health Policy estimate that more than $2 billion is currently being spent each year to treat Medicare patients for water-borne disease—a huge shift from $600 million in previous years. That’s not everybody, just people covered by Medicare. I was shocked. What’s this? A race to the finish? The end of us? What is causing this upsurge in water-based illnesses? What undetected diseases lurk in our drinking water?

I wondered if it could be a matter of antibiotic resistance building up in a culture buried by antibiotics. Not so, say the researchers involved in studies of water-borne diseases. They found that the vast majority of infections could have been prevented by careful disinfection and close observation of water before it is consumed by humans.

Losing healthy drinking water frightens many of us. Fear of enemy forces destroying our access to clean water disturbs a few million more.

Rather than working from a motive of fear, let’s accept simple and proven methods for reducing our risk and living healthfully. Maybe we can’t solve every problem—or maybe we can. It’s worth trying.

That is the only purpose of this blog, to motivate all of us to take honest steps towards knowing what’s going on and what can be done to upgrade the quality of the water we drink.

Clean drinking water flows throughout the US

As with other metropolitan areas blessed with an abundance of clean drinking water, the City of Cincinnati delivers water to other cities and communities. For example, Butler and Warren Counties in Ohio benefit from water running through a pipeline installed by the Greater Cincinnati Water Works under the Ohio River, to residents in Boone County and Florence, Kentucky.

Is the water perfect? Free from every recognizable contaminant and not containing any chemicals that could ever cause any trouble to any human being? Probably not. “Safe” water is never 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the time, but it is safe to a very high level, high enough to earn the label “safe.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that almost all of the drinking water in the USA is safe to drink—if it has been filtered to remove or cancel harmful chemicals and biological products. The EPA finds nine states with totally safe water, and 41 states reporting less than ideal or even somewhat dangerous quality. Some of the cleanest drinking water available to faucets in the homes and businesses in the US can be found in the metropolitan areas of Des Moines, Iowa; Austin, Texas; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, according to

Every year the American Water Works Association recognizes the best-tasting tap water in the US. The honors went to the city of Bloomington, Minnesota in 2016. Other awards that year went to water systems in cities including Anniston, Alabama; Augusta, Georgia; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Chesapeake, Virginia; Hamilton, Ohio; Manistique, Michigan; Moline, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Tallahassee, Florida; Tullahoma, Tennessee; Pawley’s Island, South Carolina; Keokuk, Iowa; LaGrange, North Carolina; Boise, Idaho; Euless, Texas; and Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

However, even in states that comply with high water standards, wells and local water systems sometimes deliver water that falls short of being perfectly clean water. An example occurs even in water-safe Cincinnati, where Councilman Christopher Smitherman wants to see 16,000 properties in the city tested because their lead pipes may be carrying lead-contaminated water to residents.

What about New York City, our biggest metropolitan area? Surely a water system capable of delivering germ-free drinking water would be difficult if not impossible to establish and costly to maintain for such a large population. Not so, according to publicity provided by New York City itself, stating that the city’s drinking water “is world-renowned for its quality. Each day,” the city states, “more than 1 billion gallons of fresh, clean water is delivered from large upstate reservoirs—some more than 125 miles from the City—to the taps of nine million customers throughout New York state.”

But is everything perfect in the supply of clean water in the US? Hardly. Keep reading.


With so much healthful water running through drinking water systems in this country, shouldn’t we spend more time promoting drinking plenty of water for good health rather than exploring possibilities for contamination? Regarding less affluent countries that struggle due to a lack of clean water, shouldn’t we let them deal with their own issues rather than trouble ourselves with their problems?

Perhaps, could be the answer to both questions. But to ignore the possibility of our own water being contaminated now or at some future time seems irresponsible to many of you, and for you, this book of blogs was written.

Yes, you can make a difference. Write a letter. Make a phone call. Join an organization dedicated to solving water problems where you live. Establish your own database of information about drinking water challenges in your corner of the world. Volunteer for citizen participation as the occasion presents itself. Or change career plans and become a professional drinking water conservation expert.

Start by reading this water blog book.

Welcome to our blog

Welcome to our brand new blog.
I’m Joyce, and I’ve been writing since I first learned to tell a “y” from a “g” and am still going strong. Stay tuned and let me know your interests and concerns. No politics at least for a while, please.
I’d like to take you on a journey to the world of water. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the world has a lot of water on it, but most of it comes from oceans and rivers filled with water we couldn’t drink without getting terribly sick–or dying. So I’m changing the journey to the direction of the world of drinking water. And, since everybody in the world drinks water, let’s consider water in the USA. Are you ready?

Babies love to drink…water

Let’s take a peek through a kitchen window in Cincinnati, Ohio, at a baby boy just a few months into the experience of life struggling for attention from his highchair.

The baby’s mouth opens, and his head rolls back and forth as he speaks the cause of his anguish. “Wa-wa!” he pleads, his arms swinging up and down past his ears.

Mother takes a baby bottle from a kitchen shelf, pours water into it from the faucet, and holds it in front of the baby. Clutching the bottle with both hands, he slurps a few swallows. What a relief!

The water this baby is taking into his little body is tap water—straight from the faucet of the kitchen in the house where he lives.

Is it safe for the baby to drink this water? Probably. For one thing, since he’s already past six months of age he’s probably past any threat of water intoxication from drinking too much water.

Another factor in the baby’s favor is that the water was scientifically processed before it reached the kitchen faucet. From the surface of the Ohio River, the water was directed to the Miller Treatment Plant where it was processed to remove undesirable chemicals and biological products and then delivered by the Greater Cincinnati Water Works to the 235,000 residents of Cincinnati.

It looks like this child is fortunate to be growing up in a metropolitan area in the United States that can provide a high quality of drinking water. Or is he? Are dangers threatening his health buried in the drinking water of the USA that we don’t know anything about?