Ending long-term drinking water advisories
Everyone in Canada should have access to safe, clean drinking water. The Government of Canada is working with First Nations communities to achieve clean drinking water on reserves.
Recently lifted long-term drinking water advisories
Wawakapewin First Nation
as of April 20, 2022
The long-term drinking water advisory affecting Wawakapewin First Nation's Public Water System in Ontario has been lifted, effective April 20, 2022. The advisory was lifted following the drilling of two new wells and the installation of a modular water treatment plant to serve the community. The Shibogama Water and Wastewater Hub is providing training and support to the local operators. The water quality now meets all requirements.
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte
as of March 15, 2022
Three long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted in Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, ON, from the Bayview Variety Apartments and Trailer Park Public Water Systems and the All MBQ Semi-Public Water System. The advisories have been lifted following the extension of the community's piped distribution system. The affected homes and buildings now have access to potable water.
Ojibway Nation of Saugeen
as of February 16, 2022
The long-term drinking water advisory affecting Ojibway Nation of Saugeen's Health Clinic Semi-Public Water System has been lifted, effective February 16, 2022. The advisory, in effect since April 2018, was lifted following the installation of a new well and point-of-entry treatment system for the clinic. Testing has confirmed that the system produces water that meets all drinking water guidelines. Operational supports are provided to the community through the ISC-funded Centralized Water and Wastewater Hub delivered by Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation. In January 2022, the community lifted the long-term drinking water advisory on their school water system.
Recently added long-term drinking water advisories
Montreal Lake Cree Nation and Lac La Ronge Indian Band as of May 28, 2022
The drinking water advisory affecting Montreal Lake Cree Nation and Lac La Ronge Indian Band's Little Red River Public Water System in Saskatchewan will become long-term on May 28, 2022. A number of repairs have been completed, however, there are operational issues. Circuit Rider Training Program is providing training and operational support. Water samples also indicate that treatment of iron and manganese is insufficient due to issues with the treatment system's greensand filters. Further investigation is underway.
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte
as of March 15, 2022
A retroactive long-term drinking water advisory was issued for the Public Works Garage. This building is anticipated to be connected to the community's water system through the First Nation's ongoing project to extend the distribution system to rural areas of the community.
Zagime Anishinabek First Nation
as of February 24, 2022
A drinking water advisory affecting Zagime Anishinabek's Public Water System, in Saskatchewan, became long-term on February 24, 2022. A do-not-consume advisory was initially set as a result of increased manganese levels. Although repairs were completed, the system is still not achieving sufficient removal of manganese. In addition to the targeted do-not-consume advisory, a community-wide boil water advisory was added to the system in June 2021 following other treatment issues. Indigenous Services Canada is supporting the installation of a temporary treatment system until long-term upgrades to the water treatment plant are complete. The advisory is currently expected to be lifted by August 2022.
Long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of May 28, 2022
132 long-term drinking water advisories lifted since November 2015.
34 long-term drinking water advisories are in effect in 29 communities.
- 2022: 4 long-term drinking water advisories added and 6 lifted
- 2021: 7 long-term drinking water advisories added and 28 lifted
- 2020: 13 long-term drinking water advisories added and 11 lifted
- 2019: 6 long-term drinking water advisories added and 9 lifted
- 2018: 10 long-term drinking water advisories added and 38 lifted
- 2017: 13 long-term drinking water advisories added and 19 lifted
- 2016: 10 long-term drinking water advisories added and 17 lifted
- 2015: 3 long-term drinking water advisories added and 4 lifted
Progress on lifting long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of May 28, 2022
- 80% advisory lifted
- 10% project to address advisory complete, lift pending
- 8% project to address advisory under construction
- 2% project to address advisory in design phase
- 1% feasibility study being conducted to address advisory
Ensuring sustainable access to safe drinking water
Ending a long-term drinking water advisory is a complex process and requires collaboration between First Nations communities and the Government of Canada. Actions to resolve a water or wastewater issue can include:
- feasibility studies
- new system design work
- interim repairs on existing systems
- permanent repairs to existing infrastructure
- construction of new infrastructure
- improved training and monitoring
Initiatives are underway in each community to address the remaining long-term drinking water advisories. The decision to lift a long-term drinking water advisory lies with a community's chief and council, based on recommendations from environmental public health officers.
There are different types of drinking water advisories in First Nations communities. To learn more about why and when they are issued, visit About drinking water advisories.
Eliminating long-term drinking water advisories is just 1 part of ensuring First Nations communities have reliable access to safe drinking water:
- Investing in water and wastewater infrastructure
- Keeping water systems running and properly staffed
- Supporting First Nations' control of water delivery
The timeline of every water and wastewater infrastructure project differs. For example, completion of a new water treatment system can take 3 to 4 years to complete. See the Life-cycle of a First Nations community infrastructure project.
In addition to resolving long-term drinking water advisories, work is also underway to support community infrastructure projects on reserve to build a sustainable foundation and increase reliable access to clean drinking water for generations to come.