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:
- improve water infrastructure on reserves
- end long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves
- prevent short-term advisories from becoming long-term
Recently lifted long-term drinking water advisories
Black Lake First Nation (SK) as of January 23, 2021
The long-term drinking water advisory affecting Black Lake First Nation's public water system in Saskatchewan has been lifted, effective January 23, 2021. The advisory had been in effect since April 2013 and was lifted following completion of an upgrade and expansion to address capacity and treatment issues at the water treatment plant.
Lake Manitoba (MB) as of December 23, 2020
The long-term drinking water advisory affecting the Jordan's Principle Building in Lake Manitoba (MB) has been lifted, effective December 23, 2020. The advisory had been in effect since June 2019. Following an assessment of the existing well and attempts to address contamination issues, a new well was drilled and connected to the building. Water quality testing shows the water meets all requirements. The old well has been decommissioned.
Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation (ON) as of November 9, 2020
Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation lifted a long-term drinking water advisory from the 63B Public Water System on November 9, 2020. The advisory, in place since October 2019, was lifted after repairs were made to the system and operations were improved.
Recently added long-term drinking water advisories
North Caribou Lake (ON) as of March 3, 2021
A drinking water advisory in North Caribou Lake (Ontario) on the North Caribou Lake Public Water System became long-term on March 3, 2021, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was initially recommended because the water treatment system did not have the capacity to meet the safe drinking water needs of the community. A feasibility study to examine the long-term needs and options for both water and wastewater has been completed. ISC continues to work in partnership with the First Nation to develop an interim solution while work on a long-term solution based on the recommendations of the feasibility study is advanced.
Bearskin Lake (ON) as of February 26, 2021
A drinking water advisory in Bearskin Lake (Ontario) on the nursing station water system became long-term on February 26, 2021, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was initially recommended because there was no disinfection on the water system. ISC has approved a funding submission from the First Nation that outlines the scope, schedule and cost of a proposed treatment system project for the existing groundwater source. The Windigo First Nations Council advised ISC that an engineering firm has been engaged to design the treatment system.
Deer Lake, ON as of October 15,2020
A drinking water advisory in Deer Lake (Ontario) on the Deer Lake Public Water System became long-term on October 15, 2020, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was initially recommended due to inconsistent sampling. The Keewatinook Okimakanak Water/Wastewater Hub is supporting work to improve water quality monitoring.
Description of Long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of March 3, 2021
- 99 long-term drinking water advisories lifted since November 2015
- 59 long-term drinking water advisories in effect in 40 communities
This line graph depicts the number of long-term drinking water advisories in effect between November 2015 and March 3, 2021.
- In November 2015 there were 105 long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves
- As of March 3, 2021, 59 long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves are in effect
Description of progress on lifting long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve.
Updated March 3, 2021
- 59 long-term advisories in effect
- Percentage of advisories at each stage towards lifting
- 3% feasibility study
- 12% in design phase
- 53% under construction
- 32% lifting pending
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
Explore the map for highlights of efforts underway across Canada
The Government of Canada is working with First Nations to end long-term drinking water advisories (LT-DWAs). In the table below, "LT-DWA" refers to long-term drinking water advisories which have been in effect for more than 12 months. ISC provides funding for public water systems that serve five or more household service connections for residences that are occupied year round. ISC also provides funding for public water systems serving public facilities funded through ISC. These water systems are managed and operated by the band, a band-owned utility or qualified third party under contract.
Visit Long-term advisories affecting water systems not financially supported by the Government of Canada South of 60.