Pledge to end long-term drinking water advisories on reserves reaffirmed
Everyone in Canada deserves access to safe, clean, and reliable drinking water – and Ottawa reaffirmed that pledge to its Indigenous peoples this week.
“Our government is steadfast in our commitment and we remain on track to ending all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021,” stated the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services.
The Department of Indigenous Services Canada will add close to 250 drinking water systems to the total number covered by the federal government’s commitment to ensure clean drinking water on public systems on reserve. As a result, the government will provide financial support to end 24 additional long-term drinking water advisories by March 2021.
This brings the total number of long-term drinking water advisories that remain on public systems on reserve to 91 as of January 23.
“First Nation communities working in partnership with the federal government have started or completed almost 350 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve,” says Philpott. “As we move into 2018, many of these projects will be completed, and we expect at least 20 additional long-term drinking water advisories will be lifted by the end of the year. We have a lot of hard work ahead, but our government remains steadfast in our commitment – to lift all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021.”
The government is ready to provide support if any additional drinking water advisories become long term or are at risk of becoming long term, on the more than 1,000 public drinking water systems on reserve covered by its commitment.
Ottawa’s 2016 budget provided investments of $1.8 billion over five years to significantly improve on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure, ensure proper facility operation, maintenance, and support training of water system operations.
Five-year targeted investments provide communities with the necessary funding security in order to plan, design, and implement required upgrades. That also includes $141.7 million over five years in new funding to improve drinking water monitoring and testing on reserve.