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Much more than water.

Water First supports Indigenous communities in addressing critical water challenges. But the benefits don’t stop there. Our work is about much more than water.

You can support the work we do with communities and partners to create solutions – together.

Sustainable access to safe, clean water in Indigenous communities continues to be a pressing issue in Canada.

Nobody understands the evolving challenges and needs more than the people who live there. Drinking water challenges are complex: in some communities, local concerns may be around infrastructure, for others, source water contamination. And numerous communities have challenges recruiting and training young Indigenous adults to join the drinking water field.


18% of First Nation communities are under a drinking water advisory.


35% of First Nation communities are under a drinking water advisory.

To be clear, technology and infrastructure alone do not provide clean and reliable drinking water.

The people who run and maintain the systems are critical. Existing water treatment staff are doing a great job with available resources, however many Indigenous communities in Canada have identified the need for more young, local, qualified personnel to support solving water issues, independently and for the long term.

There aren’t enough local opportunities for young Indigenous adults to gain the required training, skills, and experience to become water operators, so Water First’s Drinking Water Program is designed to bring technical training opportunities directly to communities. This program supports young Indigenous adults through a locally-based, paid internship to become certified water treatment plant operators.

Our work alone is not a solution to the water crisis facing many Indigenous communities.

Supporting the training and education of water plant operators has been identified by many communities as critical to the sustainability of local efforts to provide safe & clean drinking water.

Through collaboration, the Internship is adapted with each Indigenous community partner based on local, community-identified needs. It is welcomed by Indigenous communities that view training and skill development as one critical solution to addressing local drinking water challenges.

Your Support at Work

Our Areas of Work

Indigenous Advisory Council

Water First is guided by the Indigenous youth and young adults who participate in our programs, our Indigenous staff and board members, local Indigenous community partners, and by members of our Indigenous Advisory Council. Our collaborations are built on respect and meaningful partnerships, with Indigenous youth and community partners at the heart of our work.

Water First does not identify as an Indigenous organization. As such, our Indigenous Advisory Council members provide valuable feedback on our programs and delivery in communities.

Through a four-part video series, we are highlighting the advisory council in our member’s own words about our relationships. 

Indigenous Advisory Council

4 Videos

Drinking water advisory statistics are for federally maintained systems on First Nations reserve lands only and do not include private systems.

These numbers include both short-term and long-term boil water advisories as well as do not consume advisories for First Nation communities in Canada.

Last Updated: July 2022