EDITORIAL Victoria ignoring risks to water

It’s obvious the provincial government isn’t taking local water quality, the economy or ecosystems seriously.

It’s obvious the provincial government isn’t taking local water quality, the economy or ecosystems seriously.

It was reported at Tuesday’s Okanagan Basin Water Board meeting that Victoria continues to provide insufficient money to keep invasive mussels from arriving in local lakes and bureaucrats have left a proposed protocol for blue green algae in limbo.

When it comes to zebra and quagga mussels, funding three mobile stations searching boats at the Alberta border won’t cut it.

“We are trying to put pressure on the provincial government to do more and have five (permanent) inspection stations,” said OBWB director Juliette Cunningham.

“There is a cost if we don’t stop them (mussels) from arriving here.”

They clog water intake pipes, pumps and boat motors. They also deplete food sources for fish and produce toxins that kill fish and birds and contaminate drinking water.

In terms of blue green algae, the substance can impact beaches and water intakes.

A protocol to handle the algae began being developed in 2013, and it was supposed to be released in the spring, but nothing has happened.

“There’s a draft in place, sitting on the desk of the deputy minister of health,” said Anna Warwick Sears, OBWB executive director.

With both the mussels and the algae, the lack of leadership from the provincial government means critical infrastructure is at risk as is public health and the economy.

It’s time for the various government agencies involved to get with the program.