What if... remote communities had clean water?

India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (CIRCE)

The interior of the mobile water treatment plant at Lytton First Nation, BC.

After years of having to buy bottled water, residents in the small First Nations community of Lytton, BC can now drink water directly from their taps. Collaboration and technology were critical to solving the problem. University of British Columbia researchers began by working with eight First Nations communities, and with industry partners PI Pure Water and GE Water to identify each community’s needs. Then, with support from IC-IMPACTS and RES’EAU WaterNET, researchers retooled technologies commonly found in complex water treatment systems (e.g. filtration, chemical/chlorine injection, and UV) to make them more user-friendly and cost-efficient on a smaller scale. The systems were then installed inside a truck to make the technology mobile. Successful field trials led to a permanent installation in Lytton in 2015. The technologies are currently being trialed in more communities, both in Canada and in India.

It is important for the success of the project to have sufficient community input during the design phase. In our case, we required a cost-effective system that could handle our source water challenges, and one that could be operated reliably using the resources we have in the community.Jim Brown, Maintenance Manager and Operation Supervisor, Lytton First Nation