What's already regarded as some of the best drinking water in the world is about to get even better.
A new Metro Vancouver water disinfection project in north Coquitlam was recently unveiled to the media to shed light on some of the new processes involved in cleaning the roughly 370 million litres of water produced there daily.
And, in fact, light is a key new element added to the treatment process, as the inclusion of ozonation uses natural light to kill off microorganisms found in the water.
"Ozonation allows us to reduce the amount of chlorine that we use in the systems," said PoCo Mayor Greg Moore, chair of Metro Vancouver's board of directors.
"And ozonation is more effective at getting at the microorganisms than chlorine is."
Previously, the water flowing out of the Coquitlam watershed was treated with a UV disinfection treatment system only, Moore said. The addition of ozonation helps treat even the smallest micro particulates and other organisms such as cryptosporidium and giardia that are chlorine resistant.
Once completed, the system will see water coming out of the reservoir and directed into eight ultraviolet units. Each of those units contain 40 ultraviolet lamps covered by protective sleeves, and as the water travels through those units, the ultraviolet light coming from the lamps kills the microorganisms.
One of three reservoirs serving the Metro Vancouver region, the Coquitlam watershed provides water to the Tri-Cities, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Langley and Surrey.
The $110-million project is slated for completion next fall and is expected to extend the life of the facility by about 50 years, Moore said.
"We've got pipes in the ground up there, and we've got the majority of the major pipe infrastructure in place and we're putting in the building around it right now," he added.
As the government body tasked with providing water to the region, Metro Vancouver charges individual municipalities about 60 cents for every 1,000 litres consumed.
"When you think about that, some people go to the store and buy a bottle of water and it's about $2 for a half litre - we charge 60 cents for a thousand litres," Moore said.
"And that's part of [Metro Vancouver's] tap water campaign, in that people should just be going to the tap because you're getting the same quality of water using the same technologies that all the bottled water companies are using."