Four First Nation communities will participate in the Canada-Ontario First Nations Pilot Initiative to Improve Drinking Water Quality. Through this joint initiative, the federal and provincial governments are working with First Nation partners to explore and assess innovative, alternative and proven processes and drinking water servicing solutions.
“The collaboration between the federal and provincial governments and the participating First Nations is an important step to improve access to clean reliable drinking water, particularly in smaller, rural communities,” said John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
The communities selected are Alderville, Lac Seul (Whitefish), Munsee-Delaware and Zhiibaahaasing First Nations. The selection criteria required that the communities:
- have water systems that were assessed at either a high design risk in the National Assessment of Water and Wastewater Systems in First Nations Communities – 2009-2011 or did not have a communal drinking water system;
- be able to demonstrate community support for the project; and
- submit projects that presented an opportunity to explore an alternative servicing model for drinking water treatment and distribution.
The projects will include central management of all new and existing drinking water assets. Depending on proposals received from industry, the design and technology solutions may include such options as:
- installation of new point-of-entry treatment systems in a heated enclosure outside of homes
- improvements to existing infrastructure
- purchase of new water delivery truck(s)
- installation of pre-fabricated water treatment plant(s)
- other approaches deemed appropriate through the Request for Proposals processes
The feds will provide up to $5 million in funding to cover the full costs of capital infrastructure and, in addition, at least three years of operations and maintenance funding for the projects.
The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation is also supporting this initiative through the provision of technical support to First Nations and Tribal Councils.