First Nations Water Governance
The importance and urgency of undertaking research relating to source water protection (especially for drinking water) in First Nations communities has been made abundantly clear in past decades. Drinking water advisories are common in First Nations communities, as are persistent risks to drinking water. Many of the challenges faced relate to governance.
Though there are many common challenges relating to water governance in Canada, some are specific to First Nations communities. Jurisdictional concerns are especially important. While water management generally falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces in Canada, First Nations reserve lands are part of the federal government’s jurisdiction. This creates a great deal of complexity and ambiguity around how sources of water for First Nations communities can and should be protected. Numerous concerns also exist that relate to the participation of First Nations in collaborative water governance processes. For instance, First Nations must be consulted on a government-to-government basis, and participation in a provincial collaborative water governance process may be incompatible with this perspective. Sometimes it is assumed that one First Nation community can speak for others. This is problematic as there is a rich diversity of First Nations cultures and communities. This aspect of the project seeks to improve understanding and facilitate dialogue on the challenges related to First Nations water issues, and ultimately to enhance source water protection governance in Canada’s First Nations communities.
Ongoing Project Activities
- Workshop and facilitation of ongoing dialogue on water challenges and solutions in First Nations communities