Discovering the truth about water

On Monday, the Wilfrid Laurier University sustainability office and the Laurier Institute for Water Science put on a World Water Day exhibit in the Science Atrium.

World Water Day is an international initiative recognized by the United Nations each year, although this is the first time there has been such a sizable display at Laurier.

“We use water every day. We don’t really think about where it comes from, where it goes to or how it came into our lives, or the quality of it,” explained Laurier sustainability co-ordinator Sarah English.

“We want people to think twice about water.”

Throughout the atrium, a number of tables were set up to encourage students to learn about the quality of water both locally and internationally, as well as how to help improve and conserve water.

A large number of research posters were displayed demonstrating current studies being conducted by students from both Laurier and the University of Waterloo. Research topics ranged from the influence climate change has on lakes in the Yukon to the toxicity in different fish species to understanding water issues in Canada from a social science perspective.

Along with research posters and taste tests, World Water Day at Laurier also included local community booths set up by the Region of Waterloo Water Services, the Grand River Conservation Authority and the Wellington Water Watchers.

The booth that seemed to receive the most attention was one in which students could blindly sample both tap water and bottled water to see if they could taste the difference.

While taking the test, students were given information about the two sources of water.
One notable difference between the two sources is that while Canadian municipalities are required to test drinking water multiple times a day, bottled water plants are only inspected on average once every three years.

Despite this, one in three Canadians consume bottled water as their main source of water.
“A lot of people may not know the impact that the bottled water industry can have,” said English. “Is buying bottled water really worth destroying the environment or taking water away from poorer people?”

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