CBC: This First Nation produces clean water. So why are so many residents afraid to drink it?
As the assistant operator at the water treatment plant in Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba, it was Andrew Flett’s job to ensure there was clean drinking water for the community’s 4,000 residents. Although he was still an apprentice, he was second-in-command and approached his work with meticulous care….
Even so, like many Garden Hill residents, Flett and his family refuse to drink the water that comes out of their tap at home. They stopped in 2015 after everyone in the family got sick….
Annemieke Farenhorst, a University of Manitoba researcher who focuses on water issues in First Nations communities, says cisterns should be cleaned at least once a year to prevent bacteria from building up. Knott says he doesn’t remember when his cistern was last cleaned….
A community survey conducted by University of Manitoba students last summer found that nearly all the families with cisterns in Garden Hill have problems with their water.
The most common complaint was that water isn’t delivered often enough to meet the needs of multiple families living in the same home. The community has just two water trucks. A third truck broke down several years ago, but because of funding shortfalls it has not been repaired.