Each month, the FNHA produces a summary of the Drinking Water Advisories in First Nations communities in BC. The summary shows Drinking Water Advisories that were in effect or were revoked as of the end of the month.
The summary is of water systems with five or more connections (CWS), and smaller water systems that have public facilities (PWS). Systems on leased land are not included.
Please note that this information is not intended to be used for public health messaging. First Nations community members can obtain the most up-to-date information on their drinking water through their Chief and Council, or their local FNHA EHO.
Drinking water advisories are preventive measures that protect people from drinking water that could be contaminated. In First Nation communities, a drinking water advisory can affect as little as one building and does not always represent a community-wide drinking water problem since communities can have multiple water systems.
Drinking water advisories can be required due to problems in the water system, such as line breaks, equipment failure and poor filtration or disinfection during water treatment. An advisory might also be needed as a precautionary measure – for example, during emergency repairs to the water distribution system or if a community lacks the required staff to support operation. Some problems can be fixed with routine maintenance procedures. Other issues, such as infrastructure improvements, can require initiating an infrastructure investment project to funding agencies such as Indigenous Services Canada.
FNHA’s Environmental Public Health Services (EPHS) provides advice to communities on drinking water safety, including recommendations on when a drinking water advisory is warranted. It is the responsibility of Chief and Council to implement an advisory and take the necessary measures to rectify the problems which led to the advisory. Once remedial measures are completed, EPHS supports communities by verifying that the drinking water is once again safe and is protected from potential future problems.
Types of Drinking Water Advisories include:
Issued when there is some level of risk associated with water use, but the circumstances do not warrant a Boil Water Advisory, Do Not Consume or Do Not Use. A WQA can be for the general population or targeted to people who may be at higher risk. Advice to minimize the risk associated will vary and will be specified.
Issued as a preventive measure when the water in a community’s water system is known or suspected to have disease-causing bacteria, viruses or parasites that can cause waterborne illness; or when water quality is questionable and boiling will remove the contaminant from the water.
Issued when a community’s water system contains a contaminant, such as a chemical, that cannot be removed from the water by boiling. The water should not be used for: drinking; brushing teeth; cooking; washing fruits and vegetables; making infant formula or other drinks, soups or ice cubes; for bathing infants and toddlers; or for pets. It may continue to be used for domestic purposes such as showering and bathing.
Issued when the water system contains contamination that cannot be readily removed by boiling or further treatment and consumption of the water poses an immediate health risk; exposure to the water when bathing, showering or any type of washing could cause skin, eye or nose irritation.
Water Quality Advisory
Do Not Use
Do Not Consume
Boil Your Water
Conserve Your Water
Safe Tap Water