A man from Adams Lake has created an app to ensure no more lives are lost due to poor drinking water.
Trever Andrew is creator of Sewllkwe Book, a digital record of a community's water history. The app replaces outdated manual systems (often in paper format) to record and analyze water data.
The Secwepemc man was motivated to create the platform following the 2000 E. coli outbreak in Walkerton, Ont.. Some 2,300 people fell ill and seven people died.
Andrew has also travelled across Canada and has seen how many First Nations don't have clean drinking water.
"There was no communications between the people that drink the water and the water treatment plant," Andrew tells Castanet. "I wanted to see if I could better the communications and prevent another incident from happening."
The local man launched Sewllkwe Book two years ago, and used his community for a pilot project.
Residents were "shocked" to learn how much water they consumed, Andrew says.
"We tracked the data for a year (and) did a comparison to other towns and communities across Canada. We found that we were 20 million litres over."
With the water data readily available, the community was able to start investigating why water consumption was so high.
"Is it old infrastructure? Is it misuse of water? Is it leaky pipes? " Andrew says, noting the app also provides information related to boil water advisories and the like.
Residents began fixing their plumbing issues, and saw a decrease in water consumption as a result.
Another benefit of Sewllkwe Book is that it saves water operators money; it requires fewer workers to collect and manage the data while creating instant reports, Andrew explains. Those reports show trends in water quality before they become a health issue, which leads to better preventative maintenance, he says.
Sewllkwe (which means water) Book starts at $12,000. Each program is tailored to each community.
"Water is like a fingerprint. It's different. It has its unique issues and it has obstacles it has to overcome," Andrew says.
As of publication time, Adams Lake and the Okanagan Indian Band are using the app.
Andrew hopes others follow suit.
"Water is colourblind. We need it as human beings. It's necessary. It's life."
To learn more, click here.