As of September 2019, there were 56 long-term drinking water advisories (LTDWA) for public systems on First Nations reserves across Canada. These are either Boil Water advisories or Do Not Consume advisories that have been in effect for more than a year. Of these 56 LTDWA, more than half have been in effect for over a decade and while this is a cross-Canada issue, there is a greater number in Ontario (42) than all other provinces combined.
The Government of Canada has stated a goal of removing all 56 LTDWA by March 2021 but the reasons for the advisories are complex, and can relate to source water issues, system design or failing infrastructure as well as maintenance and operational issues. Building local capacity is one important measure towards ensuring long-term safe drinking water supply in affected communities.
This month, WCWC was invited by The National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (NCCEH) to blog on the training and support being offered to First Nations Communities in Ontario, as an illustration of one approach to capacity building efforts for improving drinking water quality through training and technical support. Visit www.ncceh.ca/content/blog/guest-blog-training-and-support-managing-drinking-water-systems-first-nations to view!