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Rural, First Nations communities still at risk of contaminated water

Ten years after Walkerton, a new report warns that Canada has developed a "two-tier" water system that puts rural and First Nations communities at risk.

The blog of Ecojustice summarizes the basic findings of Seeking Water Justice: Strengthening Legal Protection for Canada's Drinking Water:

•Latest available data shows that 1776 drinking water advisories are in place in Canada.

•As of April 30th, 116 First nations communities were under Drinking Water Advisory for risk of waterborne contaminants.

•20%-40% of all rural wells have coliform or nitrate concentrations in excess of drinking water guidelines, threatening citizens with illness or even in severe cases, death.

•Less than half of Canadian provinces and territories require “advanced” treatment of surface water, which is standard practice in the European Union and the United States.

The report is a joint effort of Ecojustice, the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, and the Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW), where the executive summary is available as a PDF.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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