Ending long-term drinking water advisories
Everyone in Canada should have access to safe, clean drinking water. The Government of Canada is working with First Nations communities to achieve clean drinking water on reserves.
Recently lifted long-term drinking water advisories
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation as of April 19, 2023
The long-term drinking water advisory (LTDWA) affecting Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) First Nation’s Public Works Garage in Ontario has been lifted effective April 19, 2023. The garage has been connected to the newly extended water distribution system and is now receiving water from the community’s centralized water treatment plant. The existing well and cistern system at the garage has been decommissioned. The lift was made possible through the water distribution system extension project the community is undertaking through Infrastructure Canada’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. This represents the last of the LTDWAs in MBQ. Between January and March 2022, 5 LTDWAs were lifted in the community.
Montreal Lake and Lac La Ronge – Little Red River as of January 30, 2023
Montreal Lake Cree Nation and Lac La Ronge Indian Band have lifted the long-term drinking water advisory affecting the Little Red River Public Water System, in Saskatchewan effective January 30, 2023. Repairs to the system were completed. A boil water advisory that was in place since May 2021 was lifted in August 2022. A do-not-consume advisory remained in place for a targeted population due to high levels of manganese. Treated water now meets drinking water guidelines.
Recently added long-term drinking water advisories
Long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves
Long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of May 4, 2023
139 long-term drinking water advisories lifted since November 2015.
31 long-term drinking water advisories are in effect in 27 communities.
- 2023: 1 long-term drinking water advisory added and 2 lifted
- 2022: 7 long-term drinking water advisories added and 11 lifted
- 2021: 7 long-term drinking water advisories added and 28 lifted
- 2020: 13 long-term drinking water advisories added and 11 lifted
- 2019: 6 long-term drinking water advisories added and 9 lifted
- 2018: 10 long-term drinking water advisories added and 38 lifted
- 2017: 13 long-term drinking water advisories added and 19 lifted
- 2016: 10 long-term drinking water advisories added and 17 lifted
- 2015: 3 long-term drinking water advisories added and 4 lifted
Progress on lifting long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves
Progress on lifting long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of May 4, 2023
- 82% advisory lifted
- 9% project to address advisory complete, lift pending
- 8% project to address advisory under construction
- 1% project to address advisory in design phase
- 1% feasibility study being conducted to address advisory
Ensuring sustainable access to safe drinking water
Ending a long-term drinking water advisory is a complex process and requires collaboration between First Nations communities and the Government of Canada. Actions to resolve a water or wastewater issue can include:
- feasibility studies
- new system design work
- interim repairs on existing systems
- permanent repairs to existing infrastructure
- construction of new infrastructure
- improved training and monitoring
Initiatives are underway in each community to address the remaining long-term drinking water advisories. The decision to lift a long-term drinking water advisory lies with a community's chief and council, based on recommendations from environmental public health officers.
There are different types of drinking water advisories in First Nations communities. To learn more about why and when they are issued, visit About drinking water advisories.
Eliminating long-term drinking water advisories is just 1 part of ensuring First Nations communities have reliable access to safe drinking water:
- Investing in water and wastewater infrastructure
- Keeping water systems running and properly staffed
- Supporting First Nations' control of water delivery
The timeline of every water and wastewater infrastructure project differs. For example, completion of a new water treatment system can take 3 to 4 years to complete. See the Life-cycle of a First Nations community infrastructure project.
In addition to resolving long-term drinking water advisories, work is also underway to support community infrastructure projects on reserve to build a sustainable foundation and increase reliable access to clean drinking water for generations to come.
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