OTTAWA, TRADITIONAL ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, March 6, 2020 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada and First Nations communities are working in partnership to improve water infrastructure on reserves and support access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water.
Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, provided the department's monthly progress update.
In February 2020, two short-term advisories were lifted and three long-term advisories were added.
Big Grassy First Nation (Ontario) lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from the Big Grassy Public Water System on February 3, 2020. The advisory, in effect since August 2019, was lifted after the First Nation completed needed repairs to the existing system.
Blood Tribe (Kainai Nation) (Alberta) lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from the Gladstone Community Hall Semi-Public Water System on February 13, 2020. The advisory, in effect since October 2019, was lifted after shock chlorination of the system was completed and follow-up bacteriological water results were satisfactory.
Resolving short-term advisories before they become long-term is an important part of the overall work to eliminate long-term drinking water advisories. Hundreds of water and wastewater projects on reserves are underway across the country and completing these projects will lead to lifting more advisories as clean, reliable water is restored to First Nations communities.
Since November 2015, 151 short-term drinking water advisories (lasting between two and 12 months) have been lifted before becoming long-term.
A drinking water advisory in Anishnaabeg of Naongashiing First Nation (Ontario) on the Big Island Public Water System became long-term on February 15, 2020, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was put in place in February 2019 based on an assessment determined that the current water treatment plant does not meet the minimum treatment requirements. With support from ISC, the First Nation is in the process of hiring a qualified design consultant for the upgrades to the existing facility that will resolve this issue.
A drinking water advisory in Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation (Ontario) on the Nigigoonsiminikaaning Public Water System became long-term on February 5, 2020, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was put in place in February 2019 as a precautionary measure while upgrades to the water treatment plant were underway causing a temporary bypass of several steps in the treatment process. The upgrades were completed. However, high turbidity levels, or cloudiness, were found during performance testing. With support from ISC, the First Nation is working with the design consultant, contractor and treatment supplier to identify a solution.
A drinking water advisory in Fort Severn First Nation (Ontario) on the Fort Severn Public Water System became long-term on February 4, 2020, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was put in place in February 2019 due to turbidity, or cloudiness, post-treatment exceeding regulatory requirements, and was extended in the fall of 2019 due to a significant leak in the distribution system. With support from ISC, the First Nation and the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Water and Wastewater Operations Hub have addressed the leaks in the distribution system and are working to stabilize water plant operations and water quality monitoring.
For the most recent updates on lifting drinking water advisories, please visit www.canada.ca/water-on-reserve.
"Taking the necessary steps to resolve short-term advisories before they become long-term is an essential part of our work to eliminate long-term drinking water advisories and improve the health and well-being of Indigenous people across the country. I am encouraged that two short-term advisories were resolved this month and we will continue to work in partnership with First Nations to end all long-term drinking water advisories on reserves by spring 2021."
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
- A drinking water advisory becomes long-term when it has been in place for more than a year. Between November 2015 and February 2020, 88 long-term advisories affecting public systems on reserves have been lifted.
- In total, 574 water and wastewater projects have been initiated or completed since Budget 2016. These projects include new, upgraded or repaired infrastructure, as well as 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.
- Working in collaboration with First Nations, the Government of Canada has committed to ending all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves by March 2021.
- Budget 2016 provided $1.8 billion over five years toward water and wastewater infrastructure.
- Budget 2017 committed an additional $49.1 million over three years toward improving access to safe drinking water.
- Budget 2018 provided an additional $172.6 million over three years to improve access to clean and safe drinking water and accelerate the pace of construction and renovation of affected water systems.
- Budget 2019 committed an additional $739 million over five years, beginning in 2019-2020 with $184.9 million per year ongoing, to support urgent repairs to vulnerable water and wastewater systems and the operations and maintenance of water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nations communities.
- Through the Investing in Canada Plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada's rural and northern communities.
- Ending long-term drinking water advisories
- Investing in First Nations community infrastructure
- Lifecycle of a First Nation community infrastructure project
- Budget 2016 Highlights – Indigenous and Northern Investments
- Budget 2017 Highlights – Indigenous and Northern Investments
- Budget 2018 Highlights: Indigenous and Northern investments
- Budget 2019 Highlights: Indigenous and Northern investments
- Investing in Canada: Canada's Long-Term Infrastructure Plan
- Investing in Canada Plan Project Map
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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada
For further information: Vanessa Adams, Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, 343-543-7645; Media Relations, Indigenous Services Canada, 819-953-1160, [email protected]