Constance Lake First Nation – Constance Lake First Nation has declared a state of emergency as 900 residents in the Northern Ontario community have been without water for the last eight days. It appears a thick layer of algae has formed over the lake blocking access to the main water supply for the community.
Constance Lake Chief Arthur Moore along with the band council of Constance Lake are demanding urgent action to address the water crisis from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The community is requesting resources to improve the water treatment facility that is not in compliance with Ontario regulations.
Chief Moore says; “Access to a safe and useable water supply is a right of every person living in this country. My community is suffering and I fear the lack of clean water will lead to despair and ill health. No one should have to live in these kind of conditions.”
Currently the community is receiving a limited supply of potable water from the small town of Hearst; however it is not enough to provide necessary amounts for the First Nation’s homes and facilities including the senior’s home and High School.
Moore continues; “Think about trying to survive with only litres of bottled water a day for all of your drinking, bathing, washing and cooking needs. This water system shutdown will cause economic, social and major health concerns for the community of Constance Lake.”
Emergency funding from INAC is needed to retain engineering services to find possible solutions to the issue immediately and to assist in determining the best course of action to address the water issue.
First Nation communities across Northern Ontario have been battling with water issues for decades. This year over 114 First Nations across the country were under drinking water advisories with 49 water systems classified as high risk, according to Constance Lake First Nation.
Today the United Nations General Assembly are expected to vote on a resolution that seeks to declare the right to water and sanitation as a human right.