Recent Freshwater Alliance Posts

Hullcar Aquifer Review

Would you put waste in your drinking Water? – Water is Life.

On November 30th, an independent review about the contamination of the Hullcar aquifer was released. The review, ordered by George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, outlines some truly positive recommendations for addressing the root causes of agricultural pollution in the Hullcar aquifer.

This review has been a long time coming. The people of the Hullcar Valley have been under water advisories since March 2014 because of nitrate contamination in the aquifer. This groundwater source is the only source of safe drinking water for some 350 people, including residents of two federal reserves on unceded Secwepemc title lands. Splatsin was not officially notified until 2016 that there was a nitrate contamination of the aquifers. Manure and fertilizer application on nearby farms is a major cause of the contamination. The Ministry of Environment and Interior Health Authority have determined the contamination is being caused by a 1,300-cow dairy in the centre of the valley and a smaller one at the west end.

Since 2014, nitrate levels have increased from 10 parts per million (ppm)--the maximum allowable concentration per the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines--to the most recent test level in November of 15.9 ppm, the highest it has ever been. Nitrates in excess of 10 ppm can be a serious health hazard for newborn infants, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly. They are considered to be carcinogenic.

The Hullcar watershed is the northern headwaters of the Okanagan Watershed. The water comes into the Hullcar aquifer clean, and leaves contaminated, with some 85 per cent of the leakage springs at Steele Springs heading down Deep Creek to enter the North Arm of Okanagan Lake.

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Your database and communication workflows

No matter what suite of systems you use, and quite possibly for the volunteer organization especially, investing time in charting out your workflows for engagement will go a long way to getting you ready to invest in database solutions. Truly effective use of database systems is all about triggering workflows - who communicates what to who, when and to what effect? And this is true whether you are volunteer or highly staffed.  No matter what system you have, or where you want to go, spend some time thinking about these workflows can help your engagement tremendously.

 

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But we are volunteer run with little capacity - what do we do?

There is no doubt that contact management systems are geared towards staffed organizations--or at the very least, organizations with capacity to manage systems. But there are affordable solutions (and even free solutions) that can offer the volunteer organization a better system for managing and engaging growing lists of supporters. Salesforce offers a free system for charitable organizations that will give you basic features for contacts management and engagement. MailChimp, designed to enable mass e-communications, has tools to help you organize your lists (segmenting) and measure how engaged your supporters are. Google Docs and other cloud-based tools can help you share contact spreadsheets with others in your organization, which can enable better workflow when it comes to engaging supporter bases.  

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Setting up for Success: Integration, Staff Buy-in, Training.

Once you’ve done a review and determined the system that is best for you, take some time and plan your transition. Have you ever heard of a renovation job running on time and on budget? Well, it could be said that database transitions (or renovations) are similar. They take longer, and could cost more (depending on your needs) then you had anticipated.

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5-Steps to choosing a new supporter database

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Rarely is a database met with 100% satisfaction  from its users or from any one organization. Those with the highest contentment tend to be high capacity organizations who have the resources and ability to customize systems to best fit their needs.

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