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Keewaytinook Okimakanak’s public works manager Barry Strachan was interviewed on TVO’s current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin yesterday evening. Strachan discussed the drinking water challenges facing First Nations in Ontario, as well as how the Safe Water Project has successfully addressed many of those challenges.

“In my experience a lot of the problems are operational in nature,” Strachan said on the program. “We have modern treatment facilities, we just haven’t prepared people properly to operate them.”

Strachan described how in the 1990s the Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak developed water operator training programs for their communities, and quickly expanded to offer these programs to neighbouring First Nations and municipalities. That initiative has grown into the Safe Water Project, which provides training, support and technology to communities that face challenges accessing safe drinking water. To date, the Project has eliminated three long-standing boil water advisories in First Nations communities, and is on-track to eliminate numerous others.

“The Safe Water Project is a First Nations initiative that is empowering communities to end boil water advisories and address other drinking water issues,” Strachan says. “We’re very pleased and proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

You can watch the full interview online here: