Flett was confident that when the water left the plant it was as clean and drinkable as any you can find in Canada. Garden Hill has never had a long-term boil water advisory and even short-term advisories are rare. Even so, like many Garden Hill residents, Flett and his family refuse to drink the water that comes out of their tap at home. They stopped in 2015 after everyone in the family got sick.
Recently elected Xeni Gwet’in chief Jimmy Lulua doesn’t have running water in his own house. He brushes his teeth from a cup. It is a daily reminder of how precious water is to his people — but, he noted, “It’s not by choice.”
“We’ve never been high on the government’s priority list,” he said. “We live in a third world country in one of the richest countries in the world.”