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Report: Lifespan of First Nations water infrastructure cut short by underfunding – APTN News

Feb 22, 2021

The federal government has acknowledged for at least 13 years that the maintenance of First Nations’ water and wastewater infrastructure is underfunded.

Despite additional investments made in the last two years, the policy changes long promised by Ottawa have been slow to materialize.

Interviews conducted with hundreds of people on the ground—First Nations leaders, community members, water operators, academics and engineers—show the consequences of these policies are severe and put communities at risk.

“I have to beg to get money,” said Mervin Lathlin, a water plant operator in Shoal Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, adding that shoestring budgets leave First Nations little choice but to “juggle funding around” and sometimes delay bill payments.

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