By Alixx Hettinga, the Communications Coordinator for the Alberta WaterPortal
No aspect of life appears unaffected by the reach of COVID-19. The pandemic has hijacked our work, our resources and even our conversations. Hospital staff, grocers, cleaners and first responders are hailed as the world’s courageous frontline workers, but one vital group has been overlooked in this celebration.
Global Water Intelligence (GWI) has created the #OurWaterWorkers campaign to thank those in the water sector who have risked their own health and safety to protect ours. Behind the scenes of the frontlines, our water workers around the globe have been working tirelessly to supply citizens with treated water, research ways to track COVID-19 through wastewater and keep the public informed on threats and opportunities regarding water issues.
Canadian water engineers and workers are striving diligently not only to keep water treatment utilities operating at the cost of their own potential exposure to the virus, but also to use their skills and resources to fight against this novel coronavirus using wastewater management.
According to the GWI, water workers globally have already “processed 72 billion tons of sewage infested with the virus” and have begun to test the possibility of mapping the virus’s spread through sewage .
On a local level, Albert’s own city of Edmonton and other municipalities may soon be part of a program designed to determine how wastewater can be used to predict spikes in the virus .
We need water not only to survive, but also to thrive. Without our water workers operating behind the scenes during this pandemic, we would have contaminated drinking water and complications in agricultural management, food supply and energy creation. Without their hard work, we would not even have clean water to wash our hands with and would not be able to follow the most basic of necessary precautions outlined in our public health guidelines.
At the Alberta WaterPortal Society, our water workers have been persistently providing Albertans with updated information on what the novel coronavirus means for their drinking water, their agriculture industry and their energy.
On behalf of our province, our country and our world, we want to thank all water workers for their incredible efforts to keep the public safe, successful, and informed.
- Global Water Intelligence. (2020, June 11). Can you do something for us on 25th June. Retrieved from https://www.globalwaterintel.com/news/2020/24/can-you-do-something-for-us-on-25th-june?utm_campaign=1758957_GWI+Briefing+-+11th+June
- Wong, J. (2020, May 20). COVID-19 wastewater surveillance pilot program may involve Edmonton. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/6965720/covid-19-wastewater-surveillance-pilot-program-edmonton/