All NWT communities now have water treatment plants with filtration and no more truck-fill stations are used for drinking water, the federal and territorial governments announced in a joint news release on Nov. 2.
The milestone was reached on Oct. 5, 2020 when a new water plant in Wekweètì was approved for use.
All of the NWT’s 30 water plants are now also operated by local residents employed by the respective community governments, with 23 of the plants having certified local operators.
The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) is working with the remaining communities to upgrade their operators’ certifications and provide oversight while the operators are training.
The success comes through a partnership between federal, territorial and community governments with the goal of upgrading water systems in the NWT.
Since 2001, community governments successfully used such federal infrastructure programs as the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, the Build Canada Plan, the Small Communities Fund, the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund and the Gas Tax Agreement.
Community Public Infrastructure Funding from the GNWT supplemented the federal assistance.
“Improving the quality of water in the Northwest Territories is imperative to the North,” said MACA Minister Paulie Chinna. “This is a proud moment as we work in collaboration with the federal government and continue to deliver programs and support the safety and wellbeing of our residents. Our work is not done. MACA continues to work with community governments to asses their systems, plan for upgrades and continues to support operators with ongoing training.”
Michael McLeod, MP for the NWT, said modern and efficient water infrastructure is essential to ensure the health of communities in the territory.
“Federal and territorial governments have been working together to make sure drinking water supplies are safe for residents,” said McLeod. “This essential infrastructure, funded through the Investing in Canada plan, are key to ensuring that our communities continue to have access to safe and reliable drinking water.”
In the past, many NWT communities used truck-fill stations with chlorine disinfection to provide drinking water, but that process couldn’t filter water and remove dirt, metals, and other health-impacting substances.