Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has provided an update on short-term and long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves in First Nations communities.
Three short-term drinking water advisories in Saskatchewan, lasting between two and 12 months, have been lifted since July 6, 2021, including Birch Narrows Dene Nation and Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation. This brings the total to 186 short-term advisories prevented from becoming long term since November 2015.
“In our work to ensure improved access to clean drinking water, preventing short-term advisories from becoming long term is essential,” said Marc Miller, minister of Indigenous services. “Three short-term advisories in Saskatchewan were lifted before becoming long term. Our work continues to lift all remaining LTDWAs as soon as possible.”
As of August 3, 2021, 32 First Nations communities across Canada are working to resolve 51 long-term drinking water advisories. In total, First Nations communities have lifted 108 long-term drinking water advisories, restoring reliable access to safe drinking water for approximately 6,350 homes and 467 buildings in 79 communities since November 2015.
Progress since November 2015
A snapshot of progress made on lifting long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves since November 2015 is included below:
- 9 per cent of long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves have been lifted.
- 7 per cent of long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves are being addressed by projects that are currently in the construction phase.
- 8 per cent of long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves are being addressed by projects where construction is complete. Final steps to lift these advisories are underway.
- 3 per cent of long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves are being addressed by projects that are in the design phase.
- 3 per cent of long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves are being addressed by a feasibility study to determine an appropriate solution.
Initiatives currently underway
The work continues and there are initiatives underway to ensure all First Nations communities have long-term, reliable access to safe drinking water. Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation in British Columbia has completed construction of a new water treatment plant, which will provide the community with clean water for years to come. ISC provided approximately $2.8 million towards this project. Nibinamik First Nation in Ontario has started construction to upgrade and expand its water treatment system. When complete, this critical work will put the community in a position to resolve the long-term drinking water advisory that has been in effect since February 2013.
ISC also committed an additional $37M for the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Water Treatment Plant project estimated at $59 million. This project will improve water infrastructure on reserve and support the lifting of the long-term drinking water advisory.
In addition to this, ISC is providing funding for two priority water and wastewater projects in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations. The Department will be providing an additional $2.4M for upgrades to the First Nation’s water treatment and water distribution systems that, once complete, will support the lifting of their long-term drinking water advisory. ISC will also be providing an additional $391,936 to support emergency repairs to the First Nation’s wastewater treatment plant and lift station.