On January 16, 2020, Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller provided a progress update on public drinking water systems at reserves. According to the update, two short-term advisories were lifted and one advisory became long-term.

The government is reportedly on track in its commitment to end all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves by March 2021.

“First Nations and the Government of Canada continue to work in partnership to lift the remaining long-term drinking water advisories on reserve,” said Miller. “The hard work on short-term advisories is also an essential part of our goal to expand access to clean and safe drinking water.”

Little Red River Cree Nation (Alberta) lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from its John D’Or Prairie Public Water System on December 4, 2019. The drinking water advisory, in effect since September 12, 2019, was lifted following planned system maintenance.

Wahpeton Dakota Nation (Saskatchewan) lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from its Wahpeton Dakota Nation Public Water System on December 19, 2019. The drinking water advisory, in effect since March 6, 2019, was lifted following improvements in water treatment plant operations and monitoring.

Shamattawa First Nation (Manitoba) became a long-term drinking water advisory on December 6, 2019, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was put in place in December 2018 due to mechanical and operational issues with the water treatment infrastructure. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) continues to work in partnership with the First Nation to identify and implement a short-term solution. Plans to expand and upgrade the public water system for the long-term needs of the community are currently in early stages.

Since November 2015, 148 short-term drinking water advisories have been lifted before becoming long-term and 87 long-term advisories affecting public systems on reserves have been lifted.

In total, 574 water and wastewater projects have either been initiated or completed since Budget 2016. These projects include new, upgraded or repaired infrastructure, and feasibility and design studies to ensure First Nations have the right infrastructure systems in place for growing communities. To date, 265 projects have been completed and another 309 are underway benefitting 606 First Nations communities across the country.

For further updates on lifting drinking water advisories, click here Ending long-term drinking water advisories.

Featured image courtesy of Caleb Behn, Assembly of First Nations.

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