Between all the different media reports, articles, and news stories we hear, it is hard to figure out how Canada is fairing on it’s campaign to end all First Nation boil-water advisories. This information is changing daily as new water treatment plants are installed and new communities are approved for funding, making zero-boil-water-advisories a moving target. That aside, other challenges include remote locations, logistics, harsh climate, and a limited number of trained water treatment professionals in rural areas.

We’ve heard recent success stories for many communities, however the list of those eligible for government funding is ever growing while the goal of eradicating all First Nation boil-water advisories by 2021 looms nearer. Ending this crisis involves not only the government to provide funding, but also the private sector to provide effective, inexpensive, easy-to-operate systems, and the public to support the operation of a new water treatment plant. This is a health crisis, a human rights issue, and a public policy problem that, in a privileged country like Canada, must be a top priority.

By the Numbers

By the numbers (summer 2018)
Eliminating On-reserve Boil-Water Advisories

Sapphire Water’s SIBROM water treatment system has contributed to eliminating 18 First Nation boil-water advisories. SIBROMs are more effective than conventional water treatment systems, have much lower operating costs due to reduced chemical requirements, and are simple to operate and maintain. With proper maintenance conducted, these plants can run for up for 10 years without requiring a membrane replacement.

In 2011, the Saddle Lake Cree community in Alberta upgraded its outdated water treatment plant to a SIBROM system. We decided to check in on them in 2018 to see how the SIBROM system is working 7 years later – find out what’s been going on since their boil-water advisory was eliminated.