Six First Nations chiefs have been presented with a Water’s Next Award, which recognizes the chiefs’ work on eliminating boil water advisories in Indigenous communities as part of the Safe Water Project.
The Water’s Next Awards are presented by Water Canada. They celebrate the achievements and ideas of individuals and companies that successfully work to change water in Canada.
The chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak won in the “People – Academic or NGO” category. They are Chief Roy Dale Meekis, Deer Lake First Nation; Chief Joseph Crow, Fort Severn First Nation; Chief Chris Kakegamic, Keewaywin First Nation; Chief Vontane Keno, McDowell Lake First Nation; Chief Caroline Keesic, North Spirit Lake First Nation and Chief Alice Suggashie, Poplar Hill First Nation.
“It’s an honour to receive this award, and to be included in the company of such distinguished water leaders,” said Crow.
The Safe Water Project is a program that is eliminating boil water advisories in First Nations communities by providing community members with the training, support, and technology they need to operate water treatment facilities.
Since its implementation in May 2015, the Project has ended three long-standing advisories, and is poised to end a fourth in the near future.
“Our model is unique because it invests in community members themselves, and builds capacity at the local level,” said Suggashie. “This approach could easily be replicated in other communities, and could help to significantly increase access to safe, clean drinking water in many First Nations.”