Indigenous Service Canada Continues its commitment to providing clean drinking water on first nations reserves.
By Dami Igbinyemi
Science states that a human being can last 3 weeks without food but can only last 3-4 days without water. Dehydration sets in and they go into shock becoming vegetative. In other words, water is the most important thing and yet billions of people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. First Nations communities, with help from the Government of Canada, continue to provide access to clean drinking water by ending long-term drinking water advisories on reserves.
Yesterday, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) provided an update on the progress toward clean drinking water in all First Nations communities. As of yesterday, 32 Frist Nations communities across Canada are working on resolving 51 long-term drinking water advisories.
“In our work to ensure improved access to clean drinking water, preventing short-term advisories from becoming long term is essential. Three short-term advisories in Saskatchewan were lifted before becoming long-term. Our work continues to lift all remaining LTDWAs as soon as possible.” – Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services.
In November 2015, there were 105 long-term drinking water advisories affecting public systems on reserves. Between November 2015 and August 3, 2021, 108 long-term advisories affecting public systems on reserves were lifted, restoring dependable access to safe drinking water to approximately 6,350 homes and 467 buildings in 79 communities.
Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation in British Columbia just finished the construction of a new water treatment plant that will provide the community clean water for years to come. Nibinamik First Nation in Ontario began construction to upgrade their water treatment system, which will give the community a chance to resolve their long-term drinking advisories that has been in place since February 2013.
ISC also committed $37 million to the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded Frist Nation Water Treatment Plant project, funding for two priority water and wastewater projects in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, an additional $391,936 to support repairs to the First Nation’s wastewater treatment plant and lift station and $2.4 million for upgrades to the Frist Nation’s water treatment and water distribution systems. Combining the recent investments, Canada has increased its annual funding for O&M of water and wastewater systems by almost four times.
In December 2020, the government of Canada announced $1.5 billion to help speed up the process of ending all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve, support the operation and maintenance (O&M) of systems and continue investment in water and wastewater infrastructure. As of March 31, 2021, over $2.05 billion funding has been set aside to support 733 water and wastewater projects in 581 Frist Nations communities.