Access to clean water is a human right: urgent action is needed in Behchoko

Residents in Tlicho community of Edzo in Northwest Territories remain without running clean water or sewage services. According to a APTN News report, Edzo has been dealing with water disruptions from failing equipment since mid-January. APTN News spoke with various community members who said aging infrastructure is a longstanding issue.

On Monday, February 21, MLA for Monfwi Jane Weyallon Armstrong raised the issue at the Legislative Assembly. According to Cabin Radio, Jane Weyallon Armstrong said: “By not helping the community to resolve this problem, I feel the GNWT is making a decision that will impact essential community services.” Schools, the seniors’ home, health centre and NWT government services in Behchoko rely on the piped water system.

This is not the first time that problems with running water have been reported in Behchoko community over the past weeks.

PSAC North reiterates community members’ concerns. This is not the first time northern communities suffer from water shortages and will not be the last if the aging pipes and old infrastructure are not replaced.

“This water shortage is the result of ongoing inequalities that Indigenous communities face.” says PSAC North Regional Executive Vice President Lorraine Rousseau. “Governments must make a serious commitment with a fixed timeline to end the ongoing issues with water quality and supply.” 

Photo: Edzo’s aging water treatment plant. Photo: Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs/APTN.