Water water everywhere…

…but not a drop to drink. With apologies to the ancient mariner.

I live on the side of a mountain, quite near the bottom of it. I’m not sure what the name of the mountain is; I know it’s not Grouse or Seymour. It’s actually between the two. As most of BC’s coastal range goes, it’s not a huge mountain as far as mountains go. Above me is a couple miles of city going further up the mountain, and above that are the two of the three reservoirs that feed the 2 million people in the Vancouver and it’s suburbs (there’s actually a slight valley after the upper heights of Edgemont and before the water facilities, but I’m pretty sure it’s all the same mountain). Above that is more mountain.
On Wednesday night we had a fabulous storm…10 cm of rain (that’s about 4 inches – over a 5-8 hour period!), 100 km/h winds and all kinds of craziness. Where I live, I got alot of rain and alot of wind, but my building is fairly well sheltered and doesn’t have any old trees nearby to get blown over onto it. However, there was copious amounts of wind damage throughout the Lower Mainland; cars and houses crushed by trees, flooding in low lying areas, a quarter million people without power most of yesterday. Fun fun fun! Luckily no one was seriously injured. There was a construction project that blew down while the employees were all on break. The police said the timing was “exquisite”.
One of the side effects of that much rain and wind on a mountain is mudslides. As I mentioned I live at the bottom of a mountain below some city below our water treatment below the peak. Well, the mudslides have churned up our water reservoirs something fierce and thrown a bunch of junk into it; enough that the treatment facilities can no longer keep up. Yesterday I got up and noticed the bowl of the toilet was filled with murky, cloudy water. I knew it was because of the rain but didn’t think much of it at the time. I turned on the shower and immediately could smell all the minerals in it; the water smelled dirty. I flushed the toilet to see if it would clear up and it didn’t, so I ended up brushing my teeth with bottled water. As my cat seems to like to drink out of the toilet instead of his water dish, I thought it best to close that access in case there were problems…last thing I want to see when I get home from work is kitty sick on the carpet.

We got the advisory notice yesterday…don’t drink the water! Apparently super high levels of turbidity may cause an increase of gastrointestinal ailments. That’s all very vague, but basically it says drink at your own risk, but you’ll probably get the runs from it. They are saying not to wash vegetables in water (good thing I don’t eat those! hehe) (er…just kidding), and only drink bottled water. This morning (it’s raining again) the front page of both the Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun are headlined with “2,000,000 people without water!” The toilet still has murky water, and I again brushed with bottled water. For some reason I tend to go thru phases like that girl in “signs” where I stockpile water. It’s just I’m in the store buying something and I grab a couple litres of water. Eventually I drink them all.

Today I was (for the first time) very glad that I have cut caffeine intake down to near nothing. I drove in this morning cuz I slept in a bit and parked under the local tim horton’s. I figured I’d grab myself a coffee to perk up a bit (another joy of not getting much caffeine: when I do get it it actually works), so I toddled up to tim’s. I get there and of course, because of the water advisory, they are not making coffee. I chuckled to myself and walked thru the underground mall to my office, and couldn’t help but notice all the people with coke, red bull, rock stars, other caffeine drinks. This was at 6:30 AM. 😀

So anyways, it’s still raining, there’s still no tap water, and all the drug stores are completely out of bottled water. Also, most of the starbucks’ and other coffee shops are all closed. The weather service figures we may get another massive storm on the weekend too. I figure by about saturday afternoon we’ll have drinking water again, but on sunday it will get mucked out again

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1 comment so far

  1. Vancouver Water at The Hidden Rift on

    […] For those of you who live in Vancouver, by now you’ve heard that there’s currently a water ban in effect for certain regions of the GVRD. You can read about this a bit more on Clay’s Blog. The actual reason why the water is “bad” is apparently because of turbidity. What this basically means is that there is a lot of sediment in the water, and for some people, this can cause some problems in the toilet department. […]


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