DRYDEN, ON – The Safe Water Project, an initiative of Keewaytinook Okimakanak that helps Indigenous communities access safe drinking water, will expand to an additional 14 Ontario First Nations this year due to a $4.148 million investment by the federal government. Minister of
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett, alongside Member of Parliament for Kenora Bob Nault, announced funding for the expansion of the Safe Water Project yesterday.
“We are delighted the government is continuing its support of our efforts to improve First Nations’ access to safe, clean drinking water,” said Geordi Kakepetum, chief executive director of Keewaytinook Okimakanak. “With this new funding, we will be able to build on our success, and assist more communities looking for proven solutions to their drinking water challenges,” he said.
“This is just another step towards providing clean and reliable drinking water by eliminating boil water advisories in First Nations in the Kenora Riding,” stated Nault. “This funding will increase the number of communities serviced by the Hub from 5 to 19,” stated MP Bob Nault. “This announcement will certainly go a long way towards fulfilling our government’s commitment to addressing the issue of safe drinking water in our First Nation communities. Looking forward, the technology and infrastructure used in this project could help to bring an end to water boil advisories throughout the country. ”
The Safe Water Project was developed by the Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak. The Project’s innovative and sustainable approach to water management has already ended long-standing boil water advisories in three First Nations communities, and is on track to lift an advisory that has been in place in one community for over 15 years. The funding announced yesterday will allow the Project to be implemented in an additional 14 First Nations, many of which are facing challenges accessing safe drinking water.
Three Tribal Councils represent the 14 First Nations that the Safe Water Project will expand to in 2016: the Shibogama First Nations Council, the Windigo First Nations Council, and the Independent First Nations Alliance.
The Safe Water Project strengthens the capacity of communities to manage their drinking water systems by providing them with:
- Focused training and certification for local water operators;
- Operational support to local operators while they pursue certification; and,
- Proven technology that monitors water on a continuous
The Safe Water Project was launched in May 2015 and builds on Keewaytinook Okimakanak’s years of experience delivering water operator training and certification to First Nations and municipalities.