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Alberta’s First Nations getting new drinking water systems

Don Horne   


In 2017, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley committed $100 million to deliver clean drinking water to the boundaries of First Nations. Ten projects are now underway that will benefit 14 First Nations across the province.

“As Alberta continues on the journey of reconciliation, it is of the utmost importance that Indigenous people have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water,” says Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations. “Building up capability and ensuring water sovereignty for First Nations is my top priority.”

Alberta’s First Nations Regional Drinking Water Tie-In Program is a collaboration between First Nations, the Alberta government, municipalities or water commissions and the federal government.

“We’re very pleased to have concluded an agreement with Alberta in December of 2018 that both respects and protects our treaty rights and self-government and, at the same time, is a key part of securing an abundant, safe and reliable water supply for decades to come,” says Chief Craig Makinaw, Ermineskin First Nation.“We are hopeful the agreement will also serve as a model for resolving future water disputes between Alberta and other First Nations. This is a positive development.”


The program supports the elimination of long-term drinking water advisories, while making sure there is sustainable drinking water on reserves.

Grants are given to local water commissions or water supply municipalities to extend their service to First Nations.

Quick facts
  • The First Nations Regional Drinking Water Tie-In Program invests roughly $100 million over six years:
    • 2017-18: $14.5 million
    • 2018-19: $24.4 million
    • 2019-20: $24.4 million
    • 2020-21: $12.8 million
    • 2021-22: $12.2 million
    • 2022-23: $9.6 million
  • Current funded projects:
    • Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation
    • Paul First Nation
    • Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation
    • Cold Lake First Nations
    • Frog Lake First Nation
    • Dene Tha’ First Nation
    • Alexander First Nation
    • Beaver Lake Cree Nation
    • Ermineskin Cree Nation
    • Mikisew Cree First Nation


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