Deteriorating water quality in first nations communities. Water quality, will it ever get better?
By Laurenn Canofari
In 2015, the Government of Canada had promised that by 2021, all First Nation Communities within Canada would not have any issues accessing clean drinking water. It's now 2022, and 34 communities are currently under a water advisory (Sac-iac Canada). It is noticeable that much of the work revolving around water quality is either done inadequately or left incomplete. Communities need clean water but have received little to no help to resolve this issue.
First Nations communities are either put under a boiling water advisory (BWA), a do not consume advisory (DNC), or a do not use advisory (DNU). Under a boiling water advisory, communities are informed to boil their water for at least one minute before consumption. This is to treat and kill potential E. coli or chlorine residue found in the water (Health Canada, 2009). A do not consumer advisory is put into place when there is a contaminant that cannot be removed from the water even with the boiling method, such as lead (Government of Canada, 2021). Finally, a do not use advisory is when water cannot be used due to a posed threat of exposure to eye, skin, or nose irritation, depending on the contaminants in the water (Government of Canada, 2021).
These communities face a lot of trouble and hardship in what most people take for granted; access to clean, safe, drinking water. This crisis is going to require more than just funding and infrastructure. It’s going to require the issues of justice, inequity, and institutional trends to be solved as well (Basdeo and Bharadwaj, 2013). If the government decides to expand its efforts to solve the water crisis, this issue can be solved more efficiently and with less backlash from the First Nations population.
Click here to learn more about drinking water in First Nations communities, and click here to view an interactive map of the current water advisories in Canada.
About the Author:
Laurenn is a third-year student at Capilano University in North Vancouver enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration Degree program. She is currently a Research Assistant working on the Sewllkwe Book project, funded by Mitacs. She enjoys social media marketing, creative writing, and learning new skills.