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Improving water and wastewater treatment in First Nations communities

Target 3.10: Drinking water quality – Increase the percentage of First Nation communities with acceptable water and wastewater facility risk ratings by 2013.

Comparing the results of the 2011 National Assessment with the 2012 Annual Performance Inspections, the risk rating of First Nations water and wastewater systems is improving.

The percentage of water systems: low-risk systems increased from 25.2% to 34.5% and high-risk systems have decreased from 34.8% to 26.7%.

The percentage of wastewater systems: low-risk systems increased from 31.2% to 45.1% and high-risk systems have decreased from 13.3% to 11.2%.

Access to safe drinking water is a crucial requirement for all Canadians. The federal government has taken action to improve access to safe water in First Nation communities and to protect the health of all Canadians by working with the provinces to develop health-based water guidelines. Between 2006 and 2013, the Government of Canada will have invested $2.5 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nations.

Investments have included the development of new water and wastewater systems, upgrades to existing systems, system repairs, feasibility studies, and other related activities. The government is committed to providing safe, clean drinking water in all First Nations communities, and to ensuring that wastewater services meet acceptable effluent quality standards. The goal of these efforts is to improve the management of water and wastewater systems in First Nations communities.

Between 2009 and 2011, the government conducted the National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater Systems for 571 participating First Nations. These systems were rated based on inspections of their management of water and wastewater systems (e.g., operation, design, operator certification, reporting and source water quality). This assessment was followed up in 2011–2012, when 771 water systems and 519 wastewater treatment systems were inspected in 545 First Nations communities.

For additional information on the implementation strategies that support this target, please consult the following websites: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Environment Canada, and Health Canada.

Progress towards Target 3.10: First Nation communities with acceptable water and wastewater facility risk ratings

In June 2012, systems assessed as part of the Annual Performance Inspection were compared to those of the 2011 National Assessment. Improvements in ratings were found.

For water systems, the percentage of high-risk systems has decreased from 34.8% to 26.7%, and the percentage of low-risk systems has increased from 25.2% to 34.5%.

For wastewater systems, the percentage of high-risk systems has decreased from 13.3% to 11.2%, and the percentage of low-risk systems has increased from 31.2% to 45.1%.

For more information, please consult the following website: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

 


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