The Creator’s Gift: Good Water

Water is an essential part of the cycle of life.  But, as communities grow, man-made pollutants enter the environment and the natural system can't always remove them fast enough. One of the best ways to ensure community health and safety is to ensure that our water treatment and waste disposal facilities are well run and properly maintained.

This video demonstrates how competent and trained operators ensure that good and clean water is made available to residents of First Nation communities. 

Download: MP4 format (196 Mb)

Transcript: The Creator’s Gift: Good Water

A video produced for First Nations by Birdsong Communications Ltd. in 1994 and supported in part by the Assembly of First Nations, Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Part 1

No dialogue

Part 2

In nature, everything comes back to us. For the health and safety of our community, we must respect the fragile cycle of life. Water makes all life possible. When the snow melts in the spring, it will revive the cycle of life for another year. Hello! I'm Gordon Tootosis from the Poundmaker First Nation in northwestern Saskatchewan. I want to talk to you about the importance of working together to ensure health and safety in our First Nation community.

When we speak about the cycle of life, we're speaking about the fact that the natural environment is self-cleansing. This water is added to rivers and lakes from rain and melted snow. Wetlands and vegetation filter out natural pollutants from the water. These processes occur naturally. But, as communities grow, additional stresses are placed on the natural system.

Man-made pollutants such as sewage, garbage, chemicals from farming and wastes from construction and industry enter the environment. But the natural system can't always remove them fast enough.

Part 3

In the past, our people did not have to worry about water pollution and its potential for causing disease. Our ancestors were nomadic hunters and gatherers who followed the herds and food supplies from season to season. They didn't stay in a place long enough to pollute the environment. And by the time they returned, nature had taken care of clearing up their waste.

That was yesterday. Today, many of us live together in First Nation communities. Over the years, we've had to introduce man-made systems to treat sewage, remove harmful pollutants and deliver safe drinking water. An adequate supply of water is especially important if there's a fire. Pumping equipment should be properly maintained and tested regularly so that when an emergency arises you can rely on it to give us fire protection.

Part 4

Our communities now use complex water and waste treatment facilities. One of the best ways to ensure community health and safety is by making certain that our water treatment and waste disposal facilities are well run and properly maintained.

The complexity of these systems demands that operators are trained in all aspects of water treatment. A well trained operator must wear many hats. He has to understand the chemistry and biology of water treatment.

He also has to be a good mechanic, plumber and electrician.

Today's water treatment facility uses electronic and computerized controls. Computers can help to ensure a high level of reliability and water quality. Operatorsmust still have a working knowledge of every aspect of the water treatment system.

Part 5

When the sun shines down, it heats up the water and the moist air comes up. Same with animals' sweat, the animals get hot and the moisture from the animals goes up. Same with trees, vehicles, people, it all rises up and becomes water vapor.

The water is pumped out from the well just outside the building on the north side of the building and it comes in here ... These childdren are learning about the importance of water treatment. ... it filters the water and it goes down into the reservoir ... When water is not properly treated, the whole community can become very sick.

OK. What are the different types of water that you can think of? Cherish.

Sometimes, schools and nursing buildings may have to close if they have no water. Boiling water notices will have to be issued to the community if the system is not properly maintained.

Part 6

It's the job of the First Nation maintenance operators to help ensure their communities' health and well-being by properly operating and maintaining our water and waste disposal facilities. We should give them our support and provide them with tools and training to do their jobs right.

Tom knows the importance of ongoing training for water treatment plant operators. He knows that it is essential to have more than one person trained in all aspects of the water treatment plant so that there will always be someone around to keep the facility operating properly.

Part 7

Public Works Committee and the Council meets regularly to conduct reviews of assets and maintenance personnel. The Council has to be aware of maintenance activities at all times so that they ensure the equipment is kept in top condition. They can anticipate problems before they arise and are committed to ensuring that maintenance staff is sufficiently trained to perform their duties.

Tom knows that staff training and proper maintenance of assets will help to ensure the health and well-being of the community.

Water Treatment, wastewater treatment and solid waste facilities are important community assets. With proper maintenance by trained operators and support from chief and council and administrative staff, these facilities will provide quality service for many years.

Part 8

Without proper maintenance or strong support network, these facilities will fall into disrepair. Breakdowns will occur, community complaints will increase and the health and well-being of the community will be put in danger.

Here's the best reason to provide sufficient safe drinking water and proper environmental facilities.

It is up to us to work together with our maintenance staff to ensure the health and safety of the whole community.

Part 9

Chiefs and councils have a lot on their plate already but their main priority is the community's health and safety. By working together we can ensure the community's well-being is protected today and for generations to come.

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