The provincial government has been given a number of recommendations from an independent study on how to improve and protect drinking water in Spallumcheen's Hullcar Valley.
Residents who draw water from the aquifer have been on a water advisory since March 2014 due to elevated nitrate levels, which can be harmful to human health. They have been demanding action government action.
The NDP government ordered a review of the Hullcar Valley aquifer situation last summer, led by Oliver Brandes, co-director of the POLIS project on ecological governance at the University of Victoria's Centre for Global Studies.
The final report makes nine recommendations with the goal of improving the soil nitrate balance and restoring the aquifer to acceptable nitrate levels in the Hullcar Valley; and regulatory mechanisms to help prevent a similar situation from occurring in other drinking water aquifers in British Columbia.
Al Price, with Save Hullcar Aquifer Team, said the report is a step in the right direction.
“I think it's a good start,” said Price. “They have touched on a number of issues we have asked for. I think there's some good work in there. It's a springboard to more improvements.”
Price said there is still a long way to go and a lot of discussion will have to be held.
Some of the recommendations include responding with crisis intervention as needed, robust, independently verified monitoring and reporting, deploying innovative technology, considering alternative drinking water sources, developing better planning and others.
"Our government's goal is to ensure agricultural practices are consistent with the provision and protection of clean, safe drinking water," said George Heyman, Minister of Environment. "The report shows the way forward with a set of clear, thoughtful actions based on the best available information. The government is listening and we have already begun to implement the report's recommendations."
Splatsin First Nation Chief Wayne Christian said, “The report outlines a number of recommendations that will lay the groundwork for a robust government-to-government process that will create solutions to the ongoing contamination of the Hullcar Valley aquifers. Splatsin looks forward to the implementation of the recommendations.”