Courtenay entrepreneur, Kevin Haughton, says Canada’s problem of unsafe drinking water on First Nation reserves can be solved almost overnight with a water purification system – something he has designed over the last eight years.
The idea came to him when he was travelling in South America.
“I’ve seen people kneeling over and drinking out of a slurry of brown contaminated, horribly smelling water because that’s all that they have to drink,” said Haughton, founder of Clearflo Solutions Inc. ” I knew similar problems existed on reserves an hour from where I live on Vancouver Island.”
His system uses several levels of filtration and can produce 37.5 litres of clean water per minute, according to Haughton
Unlike the process of reverse-osmosis, no water is wasted during the filtration.
Haughton says he has one system in China and one in an Indigenous territory in Panama.
He knows, however, thousands of people on First Nation reserves across Canada, including here B.C., don’t have access to clean drinking water either.
He thinks his filtration system that can be powered by renewable energy is the answer compared to expensive water treatment plants that take years to put into production.
“The age-old problem, the age-old tradition is to build an over-sized, over-spec’ed water system. For 250 people, they’re going to pour $11 million into a project that is destined to fail and it’s been proven time and time again,” he told CHEK News.
Canada’s Auditor General reported Thursday that Indigenous Services Canada has not met its commitment to eliminate long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations communities and that 60 long-term advisories are still in effect – which 28 of them have been in place for over a decade.
Haughton has now met with several local First Nation chiefs on Vancouver Island to work on a pilot project.
“So we’ll work with a First Nation to make it an affordable entry and then get the Federal Government involved,” said Haughton.
He says funding for water projects on reserves is usually 80 per cent federal government, 20 per cent First Nation.
“Companies like Clearflo have solutions, we have solutions here in Canada that can address the situation and the government of Canada needs to move quickly,” said Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns who recently toured the facility.
Johns has written a letter to Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand and Minister of International Development Karina Gould to bring Clearflo Solutions to their attention.