WHEN HE'S NOT COLLECTING SAMPLES FROM A RESERVOIR
or out talking
about water, you'll find biologist Prof. Asit Mazumder in his lab in
the basement of the Cunningham Building. He leads some 30
investigators who bring varied approaches to the study of drinking
water, watersheds and how to keep them safe. He spoke to the Torch on
the eve of a national workshop on watershed science.
the main objectives of the people in your lab? There are three major focuses. One
is to develop sustainable, clean and healthy
water strategies and the science for that. The
second one is fish and salmon productivity. And
the third is contaminants in water and fisheries.
the lab's capabilities. I think our uniqueness is in our interdisciplinary
approach. We are, I think, unique in the whole
single lab that is looking from the watershed,
through to source water, treatment, human health
and socio-economic implications of sustaining
the environment for clean and healthy water.
should we be about the water we drink? In Victoria,
no concern at all. But there are places that
should be seriously concerned-Salt
Spring Island, Kelowna, Kamloops. When you do
not protect or manage the watershed that supplies
the most precious thing, the water that we drink,
we are compromising our health. And we are being
told that we can solve all our problems with
treatment. We cannot.
main concern should be protecting those watersheds? It's not only
protection, it's sustainable management of
the resource that is important. We need to
understand how to manage the system in a sustainable
manner-how resources users can
give and take, where the top priority is the
quality of the environment.
what you mean by 'integrated management'? Exactly. We work directly with water utilities,
the forest industry and governments so that the
knowledge we develop is transferred directly.
the key issues on the horizon? Community health and its relationship
with the quality of the environment. The other
one is pharmaceuticals ending up in drinking
water.through waste water
running into source water. Not in Victoria. But
many other systems have that problem. But I think
our first step is to help this province get the
science it needs so that we have the best policies
in the world to sustain clean and healthy water.
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