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Toosey First Nation of B.C. gains new drinking water system


December 13, 2016
By Ground Water Canada

Riske Creek, B.C. – The Toosey First Nation, located some 50 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake in British Columbia, has received a new water treatment system, with the help of more than $3 million from the federal government.

The water system includes a new well, water treatment plant and distribution system. Once commissioned, the system will provide clean, healthy drinking water to the more than 340 residents and eliminate a boil-water advisory in place for more than 10 years, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada said in a news release.

The federal government has invested $3.1 million to support completion of the Toosey water treatment system, including $1.5 million from Budget 2016.

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“Ten years under a drinking water advisory is simply unacceptable,” said Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett in the release. “This new system will provide safe, clean, reliable drinking water to the community for many years to come. Our Government has pledged to end all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations communities within the next five years, and we are determined to see more communities like Toosey First Nation access clean drinking water.”

“Once our water system has been commissioned, the new system will end a boil water advisory that our community has had for the past 10 years,” said Chief Francis Laceese of the Toosey First Nation. “I would like to give gratitude and thanks for the support that was provided. It has been a long time coming and having the new water system will provide safe, clean drinking water for the people in our community, and no more bottled water.”

In Budget 2016, the federal government proposed to strengthen on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure by providing $1.8 billion over five years to support clean drinking water and the treatment of wastewater on reserve, the release said. Approximately $275 million of Budget 2016 investments have been allocated to support 195 water and wastewater projects in First Nation communities, including 25 aimed at addressing 34 long-term drinking water advisories. Budget 2016 also includes $141.7 million over five years in new funding for water monitoring and testing on reserve.