During an emotional community meeting Tuesday evening, residents of a northern Ontario First Nation grappling with water problems demanded their chief and council ask the Canadian military to step in. Attawapiskat Band Coun. Rosie Koostachin said community members passed a resolution at the meeting calling on their band council to request Ottawa bring in the Canadian Armed Forces' Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to provide clean water.
An Indigenous-led group plans to offer to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from the Canadian government this week or next, a deal that could help Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mitigate election-year criticism from environmentalists. The group, called Project Reconciliation, aims to submit the $6.9 billion offer as early as Friday, managing director Stephen Mason told Reuters, and start negotiations with Ottawa two weeks later. Project Reconciliation said the investment will alleviate First Nations poverty, a watershed for Indigenous people who have historically watched Canada’s resources enrich others.
The taps to Winnipeg's drinking water were first turned on in April 1919, but as the city celebrated its engineering feat and raised glasses of that clear liquid, another community's fortunes suddenly turned dark. Construction of a new aqueduct plunged Shoal Lake 40 into a forced isolation that it is only now emerging from, 100 years after Winnipeg's politicians locked their sights on the water that cradles the First Nation at the Manitoba–Ontario border. "The price that our community has paid for one community to benefit from that resource, it's just mind-boggling," said Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky.
Fifty-five metal barrels, left for decades to deteriorate at the bottom of the Humber Canal, are seeing the light of day this week as Corner Brook Pulp and Paper undertakes a big cleanup. The debris predates the mill's current ownership under Kruger, but the company estimates they've been decaying since about the 1950s, although their presence went undetected until residents raised red flags two years ago. The 11-kilometre canal supplies the Deer Lake Powerhouse, which in turn generates electricity for the mill, and also does double duty as the town of Deer Lake's water supply.
As of Wednesday morning, water levels on Lake Ontario at Cobourg exceeded those seen in the historic 2017 flood. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the water level at Cobourg is 75.92 metres above sea level. At its highest in 2017, the level was 75.88 metres above sea level. “We’re approximately 40 centimetres above normal,” Cobourg Mayor John Henderson said. “With the rain we got this week, I expect that 40 centimetres will be higher, approaching 60 centimetres.”
Wildfire season is getting longer in Alberta every year with climate change, scorching land and polluting the air with thick smoke. But, the City of Calgary is studying another, perhaps less obvious, impact of wildfires — drinking water contamination. There haven't been any major fires in the Bow and Elbow river watersheds, upstream of the City of Calgary, for years. But, there are fears a major fire west of the city could wash burned material into the rivers, impacting the drinking water supply for the city's 1.4 million residents.
Some Calgary business owners are teaming up to help flood victims in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. "Absolutely not kidding. Brought a tear to my eye, absolutely devastating," is how Terry Rawn describes the situation in Rhoddy's Bay, outside of Ottawa. The region has been hit hard by spring flooding in the Ottawa valley — more than 5,000 homes flooded last month.
Nova Scotians with private wells are encouraged to test their drinking water regularly and treat it when needed to protect themselves from consuming too much manganese. Manganese is a mineral that is beneficial in the growth of healthy bone and tissue, but too much of it can cause damage.
Dozens of people in the Township of Whitewater Region have been forced from their homes as water levels on the Ottawa River peaked this weekend. The Renfrew County, Ont., township is about 140 kilometres northwest of downtown Ottawa, and includes nearly 90 kilometres of shoreline. About 100 homes have been affected by flooding, Mayor Michael Moore said Sunday.
Residents of a small Saskatchewan town can drink the water coming out of their taps for the first time in nearly nine years thanks to a new water treatment plant. Craik, population 400, has been facing a boil water advisory since August 2010, when the province found its old plant didn’t meet minimum disinfection standards. “Sometimes it was yellow and sometimes it was brown and sometimes there was dirt in it,” one resident recalled.
Over a thousand people poured into the streets of downtown Winnipeg Friday to bring attention to the dozens of First Nations across Canada currently under boil water advisories. Roughly 1,100 people, including more than 800 students from the Seven Oaks School Division, took part, organizers estimate. Carrying signs, the demonstrators walked from city hall down Main Street to Portage Avenue, and then up Memorial Boulevard, before ending at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Even as floodwaters across the region stabilize, health officials are warning people living in flood zones — particularly those who get water from wells — to remain vigilant. Hundreds of homes have been damaged by the devastating floods that have washed through eastern Ontario and western Quebec, forcing residents and volunteers to spend days filling and loading up sandbags to protect their communities.
Bottled water is being flown in to supply the remote northern community of Shamattawa First Nation after a failure at the water treatment plant. The Red Cross is flying 14,000 litres of bottled water to the community from Thompson. Shamattawa is about 745 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg and 361 kilometres northeast of Thompson.
Northerners looking to participate in the economic spin offs of the $1-billion Giant Mine remediation project can expect to wait for the water licence before the project's main manager gets specific on potential contracts. The project's deputy director, Natalie Plato, said that the main construction manager, Parsons Inc., gave the board the "most detailed schedule" it could within last six months.
The Okanagan Basin Water Board has approved more than $318,000 in funding to 17 projects that will help conserve and protect water in the valley while addressing the larger issues of climate change. Directors approved the Water Conservation and Quality Improvement grants at their last board meeting, April 2. Recipients have now been notified. In total, there were 31 applications with a total ask of $688,281.
The Liard First Nation in Yukon is testing a new method of obtaining clean water — pulling it out of the air. An atmospheric water generator installed in Watson Lake is gathering moisture from the air like a dehumidifier, then purifying it for drinking by using UV light. When working properly, the machine can generate 30 litres a day, which is enough for a family's daily needs.
The cause of the fire that destroyed the water treatment facility on Carry The Kettle Nakoda Nation has been ruled undetermined by Saskatchewan First Nation Emergency Management. The facility was destroyed in February, leaving roughly 1,500 people without water. According to Kimbal Ironstar, the First Nation’s projects manager, within three days of the fire they were able to hook up untreated well water and restore running water.
Canada's federal environment and fisheries departments failed at monitoring waste dumps by mining companies and did not always check if these firms were carrying out plans to save fish from lethal chemicals, Canada's environment commissioner has found.
While some remote Indigenous communities are still struggling with boil water advisories and crumbling infrastructure, a community north of Manitoulin Island has some of the best drinking water in the province. Since 2012, Whitefish River First Nation has won the Water Taste Challenge five times. The award is handed out to the First Nation with the cleanest water. It's an honour that community members take pride in.
Water is something most Canadians take for granted. We have so much of it, it's no wonder. Per capita, our country has the world's third-largest freshwater reserves, but yet in many Indigenous communities, water can be difficult to access, at-risk because of unreliable treatment systems, or contaminated. That's the case in Delaware First Nation, an Indigenous community of about 500 people an hour southwest of London, Ont., a place where fishing was everything 60 years ago.
Cheesemakers in Ontario are taking a hard look at their water use with an eye to improving quality and sustainability. Though the industry is considered a "medium" water consumer by experts, an estimated 10,000 litres of water go into producing a single pound of cheese when the entire production line is taken into account.
For the first time almost three decades, Health Canada has updated its guideline for lead in drinking water — cutting the acceptable concentration of the metal in half. The decision is based on the latest science, according to the government body, which worked with the provinces and territories to reduce the maximum acceptable concentration from 0.01 mg/L, set in 1992, to 0.005 mg/L.
The elected leader of a remote First Nation in B.C. which has been under a boil-water order for 18 years says he’s confident his community will eventually find a solution to its drinking water woes — regardless of which party is elected federally this year. Chief Jimmy Lulua’s comments to the Star came a day after Canada’s new Indigenous Services minister boasted Ottawa has made “progress” on the First Nations drinking water crisis to mark World Water Day on Friday.
A dental health advocate in Calgary is working to make drinking water fluoridation a campaign issue. There's already one political party on board — the Alberta Party said Friday that if elected, the government will place a greater focus on preventative health, including the fluoridation of municipal drinking water. "Research has shown that fluoride works, and we would encourage municipalities across the province to make the investments necessary to protect their children, their families," said Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel.
In Canada, we are fortunate to have an ample supply of water; in fact, some statistics suggest we hold within our borders 20% of the world’s freshwater. And while our issues are not the same as those who struggle to find the resource. We are still challenged to ensure that everyone has access to a sustainable and safe water supply.
“Far too often, governments in Canada have demonstrated that they place little value on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and the revitalization of their cultures and traditions,” Tara Scurr, business and human rights campaigner with Amnesty International Canada, said in a statement Thursday.
The Great Lakes region is warming faster than the rest of the U.S., a trend that is likely to bring more extreme storms while also degrading water quality, worsening erosion and posing tougher challenges for farming, scientists report. In a report commissioned by the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, the annual mean air temperature in the region increased 0.89 C in the periods 1901-60 and 1985-2016 — compared to 0.67 C for the rest of U.S.
More than 40 Indigenous communities in Canada have launched guardian programs, which employ local members to monitor ecosystems and protect sensitive areas and species. At a national gathering in Vancouver this week, guardians raised alarm about environmental degradation and climate change in their territories.
The construction of a modest road into a small community wouldn't usually get a full ground-breaking photo op, complete with gold-coloured shovels and government officials. But for the Semiahmoo First Nation, the road work is just the first step toward new water infrastructure that will end the community's 15-year permanent boil water advisory. "I'm waiting for a day to be able to turn on a tap and drink a glass of water," said Harley Chappell, Semiahmoo's elected chief. "That's the goal."
Moonias said Indigenous Services needs to work with them to get a new contractor who will complete the project. He’s calling for a shutdown of the reverse osmosis system – and a return to bottled water to all homes instead.