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March 22nd is Water Day

Moms Against Racism takes a look at the Water Crisis in First Nations Communities across Canada.

Infographic on the water crisis in First Nations Communities across Canada

Infographic text:

The Water Crisis in First Nations Communities across Canada

Although access to safe and reliable drinking water is easy for most Canadians, people living on First Nations reserves are 90 times more likely to be without running water.

Drinking Water Advisories:
  • Boil: Presence of harmful microorganisms (like E-Coli). Water must be boiled for at least 1 minute before consuming or using for cleaning.

  • Do Not Consume: Contains contaminants such as lead, that cannot be removed by boiling.

  • Do Not Use: Contains pollutants that cannot be removed from the water by boiling, and exposure could cause skin irritations.

  • Water-borne infections in First Nations communities are 26 times higher than the national average.

  • 30% of reserved-based community water systems are classified as posing a high risk to water quality.

  • 73% of those without clean water are on public systems funded by the government.

  • There are currently at least 100 drinking water advisories in First Nations communities across Canada.

  • 62% of advisories have last for more than a year. Neskantaga First Nation in Northern Ontario has been on a long-term boil water advisory since 1995.

The government failed to meet its 2015 commitment to eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories on First Nations reserves by March 31, 2021.

Since November 2015, there were a total of 162 long-term drinking water advisories on public water systems in First Nations communities.

Of the 43 long-term drinking water advisories that remained in effect as of November 1, 2021, over half (24, or 55.8%) had been in place for more than a decade.

Water supplied to many First Nations reserves is often contaminated or hard to access. Living under a water advisory can become a significant burden in terms of time and financial resources, particularly during long-term advisories and for vulnerable populations.

Moving Forward:

$1.5 Billion: Government money earmarked in 2020 to address water will help, but is not enough to undo the damage caused by decades of underfunding.

Adequate funding for infrastructure, maintenance, capacity-building, and training that promotes building, growth and development are key.

For First Nations to achieve equity in water access, quality, and quantity, the current model of dependency must end.

Full autonomy, decision-making and control over their internationally recognized right to water is the only way forward.

Sip On This:

Underlying economic, social, and political marginalization experienced by First Nations Peoples is both reflective of, and compounded by, the water crisis.

Take Action:

Please take a moment to watch this video (warning: it says fuck a lot) and then sign the petition to Get Indigenous Communities Safe, Clean Drinking Water Now. FFS.


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