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
White Bear First Nation (SK) as of June 15, 2021
The long-term drinking water advisory in White Bear First Nation in Saskatchewan was lifted, effective June 15, 2021. The advisory had been in effect since September 2011. A new water treatment plant was constructed to serve the community and in-home filters were removed from homes to ensure they did not become a cause of contamination. A total of 180 homes and 9 buildings now have reliable access to safe drinking water.
Sapotaweyak (MB) as of May 20, 2021
The long-term drinking water advisory affecting Sapotaweyak Cree Nation's public water system has been lifted, effective May 20, 2021. The community's existing plant, on which the advisory was initially placed, was undersized and required replacement. It is no longer in operation or supplying water to the community. Construction of a new water treatment plant, which will provide water for the community over the long term, has been completed and water sampling shows the water meets the required guidelines.
Recently added long-term drinking water advisories
Mitaanjigaming First Nation (ON) as of May 15, 2021
A drinking water advisory in Mitaanjigaming First Nation (Ontario) affecting the Mitaanjigamiing Public Water System became long-term on May 15, 2021, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was recommended to support the shut-downs required to complete upgrades to the existing water distribution and treatment systems. The project has faced delays due to technical issues and problems with sourcing the necessary equipment and materials however, upgrades to the water distribution system have been completed and upgrades to the water treatment system are expected to be completed by end of May 2021. It is expected that the community will be in a position to lift the long-term drinking water advisory in June 2021.
Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation as of April 1, 2021
The long-term drinking water advisory affecting Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation's Mudie Lake water system has been deactivated, effective April 1, 2021. A pipeline has been constructed from Ministikwan Lake's main water system and is providing water to Mudie Lake. The existing water treatment plant at Mudie Lake has been converted to a distribution pumping station. The 2 systems are now considered 1 system by the First Nation and the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, which provides environmental public health services to the First Nation.
Description of Long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of June 16, 2021
108 long-term drinking water advisories lifted since November 2015.
51 long-term drinking water advisories in effect in 32 communities.
- In 2015 there were 3 long-term drinking water advisories added and 4 lifted.
- In 2016 there were 10 long-term drinking water advisories added and 17 lifted.
- In 2017 there were 13 long-term drinking water advisories added and 19 lifted.
- In 2018 there were 10 long-term drinking water advisories added and 38 lifted.
- In 2019 there were 6 long-term drinking water advisories added and 9 advisories lifted.
- In 2020 there were 13 long-term drinking water advisories added 11 advisories lifted.
- In 2021 there were 4 long-term drinking water advisories added 10 advisories lifted.
Description of progress on lifting long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of June 16, 2021
Progress on lifting long-term drinking water advisories
- 67.9% advisory lifted.
- 20.7% project to lift drinking water advisory under construction.
- 8.8% project construction complete. Drinking water advisory lift pending.
- 1.3% project to lift drinking water advisory in design phase.
- 1.3% feasibility study being conducted to address drinking water advisory.
Ensuring essential infrastructure
The Government of Canada works with First Nations to address health and safety needs, ensure proper facility operation and maintenance, and to prevent short-term advisories from becoming long-term.
Ending a drinking water advisory is often complex, spanning multiple phases. 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
Completion of a new water treatment system can take 3 to 4 years on average to complete. See the Life-cycle of a First Nations community infrastructure project.
Eliminating long-term drinking water advisories is just one part of ensuring First Nations communities have reliable access to safe drinking water: Investing in water and wastewater infrastructure.