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What are drinking water advisories? BWA, DND, what do these abbreviations mean!

By Laurenn Canofari

Credit: Pixabay

Drinking water advisories are more common than you think in Canada. As of May 1, 2022, there are 27 short-term drinking water advisories in place across Canada (Government of Canada, 2022). These water advisories are implemented to protect the health of people. Within First Nations communities there could be multiple drinking water advisories, as in some communities not all the water comes from one system (First Nations Health Authority, 2022). These advisories are implemented due to poor filtration of water, or equipment failure regarding sanitization of the water. Water advisories are also implemented in cases where work needs to be done on the system. In these cases, the water is not necessarily contaminated, the system just needs an upgrade. The Chief and Council are responsible for announcing drinking water advisories in First Nations Communities (Government of Canada, 2022).

There are four main water advisories that First Nations communities must encounter. The First one is a water quality advisory (WQA). A WQA is when there is an issue with the water, but it can be drunk by some populations. Higher-risk populations are advised to not drink the water (First Nations Health Authority, 2022).

The second one is a boil water advisory (BWA). This advisory is announced when there is a contaminant in the water that poses a health threat to the entire population. The population is advised to boil their water for at least one minute before consumption or use (First Nations Health Authority, 2022).

The next advisory is do not consume (DNC). When there is a contaminant in the water that cannot be removed even by boiling the water, this advisory is implemented. Residents are advised to only use bottled water for consumption. The water can still be used for hygienic tasks such as showering and bathing (First Nations Health Authority, 2022).

The last water advisory is do not use (DNU). Do not use it is only issued when the water is so contaminated to the point where you cannot boil the contaminant out. Using the water for hygienic purposes can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, or nose (First Nations Health Authority, 2022).

Click here to learn more about the advisories First Nations communities must deal with

About the Author:

Laurenn is a third-year student at Capilano University in North Vancouver enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration Degree program. She is currently a Research Assistant working on the Sewllkwe Book project, funded by Mitacs. She enjoys social media marketing, creative writing, and learning new skills.

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