The taps to Winnipeg's drinking water were first turned on in April 1919, but as the city celebrated its engineering feat and raised glasses of that clear liquid, another community's fortunes suddenly turned dark. Construction of a new aqueduct plunged Shoal Lake 40 into a forced isolation that it is only now emerging from, 100 years after Winnipeg's politicians locked their sights on the water that cradles the First Nation at the Manitoba–Ontario border. "The price that our community has paid for one community to benefit from that resource, it's just mind-boggling," said Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky.
The Liard First Nation in Yukon is testing a new method of obtaining clean water — pulling it out of the air. An atmospheric water generator installed in Watson Lake is gathering moisture from the air like a dehumidifier, then purifying it for drinking by using UV light. When working properly, the machine can generate 30 litres a day, which is enough for a family's daily needs.
Water is something most Canadians take for granted. We have so much of it, it's no wonder. Per capita, our country has the world's third-largest freshwater reserves, but yet in many Indigenous communities, water can be difficult to access, at-risk because of unreliable treatment systems, or contaminated. That's the case in Delaware First Nation, an Indigenous community of about 500 people an hour southwest of London, Ont., a place where fishing was everything 60 years ago.
A former employee of the Town of Oyen in southern Alberta has been fined $1,000 for not monitoring the town's drinking water over a seven-year period. Darcy Dobrosky worked for the town for 37 years and was grandfathered into the public works foreman job. One of his duties was to monitor the town's drinking water — despite failing the formal certification required to do the job.
Several local towns will be swimming in powerful funding money in the near future, providing vital repair services for their water treatment and expansion projects. Springside, Saltcoats, and Churchbridge are recipients of the Small Communities Fund, which provides financial aid for waterworks across Saskatchewan. The three communities were among 46 infrastructure projects chosen for funding in the province.