On July 4, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, along with the Honourable Richard Feehan, Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations joined Chief Tony Alexis of Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation to announce the construction of a new regional water line and water infrastructure ensuring a safe and secure water supply for the community now and into the future.
“It’s evident that our natural water source is at risk and a water line would be essential to help protect this precious resource for future generations,” Chief Alexis said. “After working to develop partnerships with all levels of government, they have taken this positive step to ensure my community and other communities will have access to clean, sustainable drinking water.”
The project will connect the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation to the West Inter Lake District regional water supply system in addition to constructing a potable water supply line, pumphouse and treated water reservoir. The Government of Canada plans to invest approximately $10 million to support the completion of the project. This project is part of the Canada’s commitment of $1.8 billion over five years for water and wastewater.
“Alberta’s decision to help bring clean water to First Nations communities is part of our commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP),” Feehan said. “Healthy water means healthy families and healthy communities which is what all people living in Alberta deserve.”
The Alberta government is investing $7.15 million to complete the Alexis Nakota Sioux water tie-in project connecting the regional water system to the reserve. This project is part of Alberta’s $100 million commitment over four years to ensure Alberta First Nations have access to clean and safe drinking water.
“Our government is committed to providing safe, clean and reliable drinking water. We are proud to work in partnership with the Government of Alberta and the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, to implement a long-term solution that will support the health and wellbeing of the community,” Bennett said. “Today’s announcement means that soon Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation will be able to do something that the rest of us take for granted every day – a basic life necessity – access to running water.”
As part of a long-term strategy, the Government of Canada is working with First Nations on sustainable approaches to provide safe drinking water for communities, and to prevent new long-term advisories from happening.
Budget 2016 provides $1.8 billion over five years to significantly improve on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure, ensure proper facility operation, maintenance, and support the training of water system operators, in addition to $141.7 million over five years to improve drinking water monitoring and testing on reserve.