ARCHIVED - Safe Water Is Life - Melisa Lewis: Water system operator / Good Hope Lake, Dease River First Nation

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The people of the Dease River First Nation live in the community of Good Hope Lake in a remote and beautiful area of Northern British Columbia.

The community of Good Hope Lake is approximately 100 kilometres south of the Yukon border along Highway 37, the Stewart Cassiar Highway.

There are approximately 35 households and most receive their water through a small piped water distribution system.           

Melisa Lee Lewis is the small water system operator. Melisa's job is to ensure that the water that flows through her community's taps is safe.


What's happening is – our water is being pulled out from underneath the ground and it's being distributed into our pump house.


Water is pumped from the community well to the pump house, where it is treated and piped to homes in the community.


The water is coming up through the pipe and then the chlorine is actually coming from the pump. The chlorine is injected into the water. As it sits, anywhere it goes, it's going to build a residual and disinfect your water.


I got training in Whitehorse at the Yukon College. It is a very good experience because I've learned from a lot of the other guys that I worked with. I was actually the only girl that sat in on the course.

You need to know what you are doing. You can't just come and do a little testing and then walk out. If you don't know how to turn on some switches and turn them off at a certain time then you can cause a lot of damage.

It is very important to have records because without records you don't know what has happened from this month to that month. And you can't go back on anything, to try to fix the problem you have, if you don't have records.

The pressure tanks in the back will distribute water out to the community.

Everyone needs water – so it is important for everyone's health and well-being.

Normally when I come in, it is probably about a 15 to 20 minutes to come in. This is a very small system.

It is – it  is, a very good job for me. I have two kids. Yeah, it is a good job for a mom!

This can be a life career for you. I think it is very important for us to maintain healthy drinking water – I mean, this is something that we have to take care off not just for today, but for later on in the future, for our children. And if it is not maintained now, what are we going to have for them later on, right?

Yeah – the kids find it pretty fascinating- and it is. It is a good learning experience for them because it, maybe, might open the door for them when they get older.

They drink the water – so - they know where their water comes from….[laughing].


For more information contact your local First Nation government or Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada in Whitehorse, on the web or call 1-800-661-0451.

Published under the authority of the
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Ottawa, 2012
TTY only 1-866-553-0554


© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2012