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Atlantic First Nations Water Authority to build, maintain clean water around the region

After decades of dealing with discoloured water, residents of Potlotek First Nation in Nova Scotia are able to put it in the past.

A water treatment plant and tower has cleared and made the water safe to use, but despite the work, some residents still have concerns.

"Still a lot of people won't drink it and I don't blame them. It's going to take a while yet. There's some skepticism, I guess if the water is safe," said Potlotek First Nation Chief, Wilbert Marshall.

The Atlantic First Nations Water Authority is hoping for that to change.

18 First Nations communities in the Maritimes will receive support from the not-for-profit group, after $173.2 million over 10 years was announced to support transfer of water and wastewater services in the federal budget.

"Our goal is to really produce waste water effluent or drinking water quality that meets the highest standards in the land to other standards municipalities enjoy across the country," said Atlantic First Nations Water Authority Interm CEO, Carl Yates.

Yates says the move allows the water authority to have a nation to nation approach.

Funding will open more jobs, the right training, and tools to do the work.

"We're trying to figure out a better way of doing this in the communities and trying to keep the politics out of the water, which is the great thing," said Chief Marshall.

Yates says with funding, the door is wide open for other First Nations communities to seek membership.

A committed outreach program will also see the utility build a presence across Mi’kmaq and other nations over the coming months.

"We've been designed for scalability. So we're meant to scale up. We have the funding we need for current communities, but we also have a commitment from Indigenous Services Canada, that if more join then we will also look at them in the same light,” he said. Top Stories

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