PEI is an island in more ways than one. Not only are we a small landmass beside a huge continent, we are sitting on a similar sized pool of fresh water surrounded by undrinkable salt water. All the water we consume is ground water, pumped from wells, whether we live in rural or urban PEI. Most other urban areas depend largely or entirely on surface water, from lakes or rivers.
Urban dwellers count largely on their municipalities to provide them with ample amounts of safe water through central systems. This is true for Kensington as well.
The Kensington Water Management Committee was formed in 2014 in a joint effort by the Town of Kensington and the Kensington North Watersheds Association, with the support of EcoAction, a community fund from Environment Canada. Our original goal was to create a water conservation strategy for the town, to help inform residents on water saving techniques that will help Kensington residents to use the water resource as wisely as possible. As information was gathered through mail-in surveys with residents and provincial government data, it became apparent to the committee that water safety goes hand-in-hand with water conservation. Ample quantities of water that are not safe to drink is as bad a situation as a shortage of water, maybe even worse.
Kensington currently is not in a water crisis, by either consumption, supply, or by quality. The well fields northeast of town are not being overdrawn, and water quality is monitored regularly and is safe. This gives town residents a zone of comfort, as planning can be done to keep water safe and available and avert a crisis. This is the task of the Water Management Committee, as summed up in the committee’s slogan “Promoting Conservation and Responsible Use of Our Water“.
In 2015, the committee has worked with provincial hydrogeologists to define a new well head protection zone map. This identifies the area around the town wells that need extra care and caution, to keep groundwater free from contamination. Household hazardous waste is a potential source of such contamination. The Water Management Committee is assisting Kensington residents in understanding sources of household hazardous waste, and how to minimize the threat to groundwater by proper disposal and storage techniques.
The Kensington Water Management Committee is fortunate to have the services of Megan Getson this year who is conducting door-to-door surveys in the town, to offer information and discuss water conservation and water safety issues with residents, especially those residents inside the well head protection zones. The committee is grateful to residents that have taken the time to chat with Megan and her colleagues. You may have seen her, or may see her soon with an assistant as they spread the message of water conservation and water safety.