Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians – World Water Day Statement

Lake Superior
Lake Superior

The Answer is in Nature, But Canada Doesn’t Understand the Question

London, Ontario – Today is World Water Day, declared by the United Nations, with the hope that attention will be brought back to the need for fresh water for everyone around the earth.  The celebrations held on this day have been educational, theatrical or musical but they all hold onto one theme and that is to lobby for water projects and raise awareness.  Each year the United Nations selects a theme and the one for 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ encouraging people to look for the answer in nature.  Answers such as attempting to use nature-based solutions to reduce floods, droughts and water pollution to protect ecosystems.

Grand Chief Joel Abram stated, “The right to clean water is a human right, but the federal government must not view First Nations that way because how else would you explain the blatant lack of support for water infrastructure in our communities. Yet when a municipality experiences issues with their water supply it becomes an emergency to be dealt with immediately.”  He further stated “We must do a much better job protecting our source water in the Great Lakes region.  Water has a spirit that must be honoured and respected for future generations of all life that depend on it.”

Currently, the federal government funds only 80 percent of First Nations capital projects for water infrastructure. This leaves the communities, that possess an already thin budget, to cover the remaining 20% for any water system project.  This does not even count the funds needed for operations and maintenance for the continued use of a proper water project. Many communities are still under boil water advisories despite being close to densely populated areas and the $1.8 billion allocated to First Nations Water Infrastructure may not be enough.

The intentions of the United Nations to bring water to light is appreciated but it is not enough for those that have to suffer lack of good water.  Bad water is bad water and until we have the capital and the support we are promised, many will be forced to rely on bottled and polluted water

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