Short-term drinking water advisories: First Nations south of 60

Learn about drinking water advisories in First Nations communities south of the 60th parallel.

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About drinking water advisories

Drinking water advisories (DWAs) are issued to warn people not to drink water that based on water quality testing:

  • may be unsafe
  • is known not to be safe

First Nations issue DWAs in their communities. Provincial, territorial or local governments issue DWAs off-reserve.

In many First Nations communities there are several types of water systems. Based on the type of water system, a DWA could affect one building or the whole community.

Why drinking water advisories are issued

DWAs are put in place for many reasons. A community may issue a DWA if there are problems in the whole water system, such as:

  • water line breaks
  • equipment failure
  • poor filtration/disinfection when water is treated

A community may also issue a DWA when it does not have:

  • someone trained to run the water system
  • someone trained to test and ensure the quality of the drinking water

Some advisories are short-term. They warn residents of a short-term water quality issue on a certain water system.

Long-term DWAs are those that have been in place for more than 1 year.

Issuing drinking water advisories

When a potential concern about the drinking water quality is identified, an Environmental Health Officer employed by the Government of Canada or First Nations stakeholders will advise the Chief and Council.

The advice must:

  • be given right away
  • be verbal and written
  • include the appropriate recommendation(s), such as issuing a DWA

It's the responsibility of the Chief and Council, or their delegates, to:

  • issue or lift a DWA
  • take necessary actions to address the cause of the DWA

In British Columbia, the First Nations Health Authority, as part of the 2013 British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nations Health Governance, has taken on the responsibility for providing independent public health advice and guidance to BC First Nations communities and provides funding and technical support to enable effective monitoring programs for drinking water quality.

Types of advisories

We can advise on 3 types of DWAs:

  1. boil water advisories
  2. do not consume advisories
  3. do not use advisories

Boil water advisories

Boil water advisories advise home users that they should bring their tap water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute before they:

  • drink the water
  • use the water for other purposes, such as to:
    • cook
    • feed pets
    • brush their teeth
    • make soups or ice cubes
    • wash fruits and vegetables
    • make infant formula or other drinks

During a boil water advisory, do not use tap water to bathe those who need help, such as:

  • infants
  • toddlers
  • the elderly

Give them sponge baths instead so they avoid swallowing the water.

Boil water advisories are issued when:

  • there are problems with the water treatment system, such as chlorine levels that are too low
  • the water has disease-causing:
    • viruses
    • bacteria
    • parasites

Do not consume advisories

Do not consume advisories (DNCAs) are issued when the water system has contaminants, like lead, that can't be removed from the water by boiling.

DNCAs are also called do not drink advisories. These advisories tell the public that they should not use their tap water to:

  • cook
  • drink
  • feed pets
  • brush their teeth
  • make soups or ice cubes
  • wash fruits and vegetables
  • make infant formula or other drinks

During a do not consume advisory, do not use tap water to bathe those who need help, such as:

  • infants
  • toddlers
  • the elderly

Give them sponge baths instead so they avoid swallowing the water by accident.

The water can still be used to shower and bathe:

  • adults
  • older children

Do not use advisories

Do not use advisories warn the public that they should not use their tap water for any reason. A do not use advisory is issued when:

  • using the water poses a health risk
  • the water system has pollutants that can't be removed through boiling
  • being exposed to the water through bathing could, perhaps due to a chemical spill, irritate the:
    • skin
    • eyes
    • nose

Advisories by region

The Government of Canada committed to ending long-term DWAs on public water systems financially supported by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) in First Nations communities by March 2021. For information about progress to date and a list of long-term DWAs currently in place, please visit Ending long-term drinking water advisories in First Nation communities.

A short-term DWA means there is a temporary water quality issue on a specific water system. As of September 20, 2018, there were 36 short-term DWAs in place. The details of these DWAs are listed by region below:

DWAs in British Columbia and within the Saskatoon Tribal Council are not in the tables given here. Please contact British Columbia and/or the Saskatoon Tribal Council directly for more details on DWAs in their areas.

Atlantic
First Nation Community System name Type of advisory Date set (YYYY/MM/DD) Date revoked (YYYY/MM/DD) Population Infrastructure financially supported by ISC
Abegweit Scotchfort New Band Office Semi-Public Water System Non-Transient BWA 2018/07/21 None Unknown No
Tobique First Nation Tobique Tobique Public Water System BWA 2018/09/12 2018/09/15 0-100 people Yes
Quebec
First Nation Community System name Type of advisory Date set (YYYY/MM/DD) Date revoked (YYYY/MM/DD) Population Infrastructure financially supported by ISC
Innu/Matimekush Matimekush (Schefferville) MAT Public Water System BWA 2018/08/02 2018/09/04 Unknown Yes
Kitcisakik Kitcisakik (Grand-Lac-Victoria) GLV Public Water System BWA 2018/07/27 2018/09/11 101-500 people Yes
Ontario
First Nation Community System Name Type of Advisory Date Set (YYYY/MM/DD) Date Revoked (YYYY/MM/DD) Population Infrastructure financially supported by ISC
Anishnaabeg Of Naongashiing Big Island First Nation Big Island Public Water System BWA 2018/08/27 2018/09/07 101-500 People Yes
Chippewas of Rama First Nation Rama Black River Wilderness Park Semi-Public Water System-Transient BWA 2018/08/08 None Unknown No
Couchiching First Nation Couchiching Couchiching Public Water System BWA 2018/09/06 2018/09/11 501-1000 people No
Couchiching First Nation Couchiching Couchiching Public Water System BWA 2018/07/31 2018/08/06 501-1000 people No
Deer Lake Deer Lake Deer Lake Public Water System BWA 2018/04/04 None 0-100 people Yes
Fort William Fort William First Nation Fort William First Nation Public Water System BWA 2018/08/28 2018/09/04 101-500 people No
Hiawatha First Nation Hiawatha Hiawatha Church Semi-Public Water System (Non-Transient) DNC 2018/07/20 None Unknown No
Hiawatha First Nation Hiawatha Hiawatha Youth Centre Semi-Public Water System (Non-Transient) BWA 2018/07/20 None Unknown No
Hiawatha First Nation Hiawatha Hiawatha Park Campground Semi-Public Water System (Non-Transient) BWA 2018/07/20 None Unknown No
Kashechewan First Nation Kashechewan Kashechewan Public Water System BWA 2018/07/18 None 1001-5000 people Yes
Lac Seul Whitefish Bay Whitefish Bay Public Water System BWA 2018/09/17 None 0-100 people Yes
Mishkeegogamang Mishkeegogamang 63A (Ten Houses) Public Water system BWA 2018/05/01 None 101-500 people Yes
Naicatchewenin Naicatchewenin First Nation Naicatchewenin Public Water System BWA 2018/09/04 2018/09/14 0-100 people Yes
Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Saugeen Saugeen Health Clinic Semi-Public Water System-Non-transient BWA 2018/04/26 None Unknown No
Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Saugeen Saugeen School Semi-Public Water System-Non-transient BWA 2018/04/27 None Unknown No
Rainy River First Nation Rainy River First Nation Rainy River Public Water System BWA 2018/08/27 2018/09/04 101-500 people Yes
Six Nations of Grand River Six Nations Territory Little & Littler Treasures Child Care Semi-Public Water System BWA 2018/09/13 None Unknown No
Slate Falls Nation New Slate Falls Slate Falls Public Water System BWA 2018/08/29 None 501-1000 people Yes
Whitesand Whitesand First Nation Whitesand Public Water System BWA 2018/05/28 None Unknown No
Manitoba
First Nation Community System Name Type of Advisory Date Set (YYYY/MM/DD) Date Revoked (YYYY/MM/DD) Population Infrastructure financially supported by ISC
Fox Lake Fox Lake (Gillam/Bird) Fox Lake (Bird) Public Water System BWA 2018/06/12 None 101-500 people Yes
Garden Hill First Nation Garden Hill Garden Hill Public Water System BWA 2018/09/17 None 1001-5000 people Yes
Pinaymootang Fairford Pinaymootang ACFS Semi-Public Water System (Non-Transient) BWA 2017/09/21 None Unknown No
Pinaymootang Fairford Pinaymootang IRTC Semi-Public Water System (Non-Transient) BWA 2017/09/21 None Unknown No
Red Sucker Lake Red Sucker Lake Red Sucker Band Office Semi-Public Water System BWA 2018/05/25 None Unknown No
Shamattawa Shamattawa Shamattawa Public Water System BWA 2017/09/13 2018/09/04 1001-5000 people Yes
Shamattawa Shamattawa Shamattawa Public Water System BWA 2018/09/17 None 1001-5000 people Yes
Saskatchewan
First Nation Community System Name Type of Advisory Date Set (YYYY/MM/DD) Date Revoked (YYYY/MM/DD) Population Infrastructure financially supported by ISC
Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation Ahtahkakoop Ahtahkakoop Public Water System BWA 2018/08/24 2018/09/06 501-1000 people Yes
Birch Narrows Dene Nation Birch Narrows Turnor Lake NO. 193B / Birch Narrows Public Water System BWA 2018/06/26 None 101-500 people Yes
Black Lake Denesuline Stoney Rapids Stoney Rapids BWA 2018/03/28 None 0-100 people No
Buffalo River Dene Nation Buffalo River Dene Nation Buffalo River Dene Nation Public Water System BWA 2018/04/30 None 501-1000 people Yes
Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation Makwa Sahgaiehcan Makwa Sahgaiehcan Public Water System BWA 2018/07/16 None 501-1000 people Yes
Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation Ministikwan Lake Ministikwan Lake Public Water System BWA 2018/07/30 None 501-1000 people Yes
Nekaneet Nekaneet Nekaneet-Upper Camp Public Water system BWA 2017/10/26 None 0-100 people Yes
Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Southend Southend Public Water System BWA 2018/09/07 2018/09/11 501-1000 people Yes
Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Deschambault Lake Deschambault Public Water System BWA 2018/05/29 None 501-1000 people Yes
Red Pheasant Cree Nation Red Pheasant Red Pheasant Cree Nation Public Water System DNC 2018/08/18 None 501-1000 people Yes
Standing Buffalo First Nation Standing Buffalo Standing Buffalo Public Water System BWA 2018/05/09 None 101-500 people Yes
Star Blanket Cree Nation Wa-Pii-Moos-Toosis Wa-Pii-Moos-Toosis No.83 BWA 2018/04/19 None 0-100 people Yes

DWAs for Saskatoon Tribal Council communities are not included in the above numbers. For more information on DWAs in these communities, contact the Saskatoon Tribal Council.

Alberta
First Nation Community System name Type of advisory Date set (YYYY/MM/DD) Date revoked (YYYY/MM/DD) Population Infrastructure financially supported by ISC
Blood Blood Gladstone Community Hall Semi-Public Water Supply (Blood) BWA 2018/06/27 2018/09/10 Unknown No
Blood Blood Whoop Up Public Water System BWA 2018/08/16 2018/09/10 0-100 people Yes
Cold Lake First Nations Cold Lake English Bay Community Centre Semi-Public Water System BWA 2018/09/13 None Unknown No
Dene Tha'-Bushe Dene Tha'-Bushe Winbert Didzena Memorial Centre Semi-Public Water Supply BWA 2018/06/28 None Unknown No
Little Red River Cree Nation - Garden River Garden River Garden River Public Water System BWA 2018/08/29 2018/09/07 101-500 people Yes
Little Red River Cree Nation-Fox Lake Fox Lake Fox Lake Public Water System South Side BWA 2018/09/06 2018/09/12 101-500 people Yes
Sucker Creek Sucker Creek Sucker Creek Multi-Purpose Complex and Health Centre Semi-Public Water System BWA 2018/08/09 None Unknown No
Sucker Creek Sucker Creek Ruby’s Gas Bar Semi-Public Water system BWA 2018/08/16 None Unknown No
Sunchild Sunchild Sunchild New Subdivision Public Water system BWA 2018/09/06 None 501-1000 people yes
Woodland First Nation Marten Lake Marten Lake Community Hall Semi-Public Water System BWA 2018/08/31 None Unknown Yes
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