Ground Water Canada

News Contamination Water Issues
Government gives progress update on access to clean water in First Nations communities


May 25, 2021
By Ground Water Canada

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Ottawa, Unceded Algonquin Territory – As of May 17, 2021, 106 long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted and 53 long-term drinking water advisories in effect in 34 First Nations communities, said Indigenous Services Canada in an update on progress toward clean drinking water in First Nations communities.

Projects are underway to address the remaining long-term drinking water advisories, the federal government said in a news release.

Reliable access to safe drinking water has been restored for 5,920 homes and 447 buildings in 77 communities since November 2015.

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The federal government has committed to increased support for operations and maintenance as the solution to long-term sustainability of water infrastructure and preventing the reoccurrence of drinking water advisories. Investments announced as part of Budget 2019 and the 2020 Fall Economic Statement mean that Indigenous Services Canada will increase the annual funding it provides First Nations to support the operations and maintenance of water and wastewater systems on a permanent basis by almost four times.

With these investments, 100 per cent of water and wastewater operations and maintenance costs will be covered based on the operations and maintenance funding formula, up from the 80 per cent previously covered.

First Nations communities across the country have now received additional operations and maintenance funding for fiscal year 2020-21. For this fiscal year, the majority of funding has been allocated to First Nations enabling the planning of operations and maintenance activities. Additional funding amounts will be communicated as early as possible to put communities in the best position possible for future planning of operations and maintenance, the government said.

Since its last progress update on March 31, 2021, First Nations, with support from Indigenous Services Canada, lifted one long-term drinking water advisory.

Wahta Mohawks as of March 31, 2021

Wahta Mohawks lifted a long-term drinking water advisory affecting the Wahta Administration/Community Centre water system. The advisory, in place since September 2013, was lifted on March 31, 2021, following the construction of a new well and installation of a point-of-entry treatment unit. The water meets all applicable requirements. Indigenous Services Canada continues to work with Wahta Mohawk on a community-wide solution for sustainable access to clean water.

Additionally, since April 1, 2021, three short-term drinking water advisories, lasting between two and 12 months, were lifted before becoming long-term.