Drinking water is the most personal way each of us interacts with water on a daily basis. We can’t live without it. Our access to safe drinking water is, therefore, an important measure of water health.
This impact measure represents a snapshot in time. It does not report on the length of advisories. Many communities, disproportionately First Nations ones, have been under drinking water advisories for years. This fact has placed significant public focus on the poor drinking water quality on many of Canada’s First Nations reserves and led the Federal Government, in 2017, to announce a five-year plan to reduce First Nations water advisories
Watertoday.ca states that “On average, half of the drinking water advisories are for cities and towns, the other half is for ‘small drinking water systems’ found in such places as nursing homes, provincial parks, schools, restaurants and summer camps.”
The measure includes both Do Not Consume Advisories and Boil Water Advisories and is largely generated from data reported by Health Canada and displayed at www.watertoday.ca. Additional data on First Nations advisories was gathered by BC First Nations Health Authority, Saskatchewan Tribal Council and the Territorial Governments of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
5-Year target: Given the federal focus and commitment to addressing part of this problem, it is expected that this overall number will go down but without broader attention to source water protection across the country, it will be minimal. Further, sometimes as a problem is solved in one community, a new community gets added to the list. A systems approach is necessary to address this impact measure nationwide. We, therefore, expect in 5-years 1000 communities across the country will still be under some kind of drinking water advisory.
Last updated June 2017