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Sanitation of Reserve Resources: Unsafe Drinking Water Term Paper

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Updated: Apr 24th, 2020


Canada is one of the developed countries in the world. It has an established system of education. On average, the living standards of people are high. According to Milbourne (13), Canada is one of the countries in the world considered the best when it comes to offering basic needs to citizens. Properly treated tapped water is supplied to various residential and business units in various areas in the state. As Milbourne (21) notes, Canada is advanced both socio-economically and politically.

However, behind all these successes, an ugly closet hides the sufferings of some nationals of this nation. It is shocking to note that some Canadians have no access to clean water. The researcher realized that some people staying in the reserves use untreated water, which is a threat to their health. Westhues (59) reports that several previous researches have proven that water used in these reserves have EColi, which is a virus that is very dangerous to human health.

The sanitary conditions of this nation are also under contentions. People living in these areas are poor. They cannot afford to treat drinking water. This puts them at a very dangerous position of contracting various diseases caused by viruses. Because of their limited economic capacity, they may not be in a position to seek proper medication, a fact that may put their lives in danger.

The Aboriginal Communities living in reserves are the worst hit by this unfortunate phenomenon. They are unable to access clean water in various regions where they stay. A region in specific that was noted was Kashechewan reserve in the Northern Ontario state. The research therefore seeks to uncover issues relating to unsafe water in this region, the health concerns associated with the same, and recommendations on how this issue can be arrested to save lives of several Canadians staying in these regions. This would prevent them from eminent danger they face.

Issues Pertaining Clean Water

Clean water is a necessity to every human being. As Milbourne (28) states, water is life. Water defines every activity of a person. One needs clean water to drink, cook, and wash utensils. Clean water is needed for domesticated animals. Uses of water are numerous. Water is found naturally in lakes, rivers, seas, wells and springs.

Spring water in most cases has proven to be very pure. It passes the standards of health and for this reason can be considered safe for consumption. However, other sources of water are unsafe and therefore should be treated before consumption by either humans or animals. Water treatment needs some good amount of finances for it to be considered successful. This is so because of the machinery and medication involved in the treatment process.

The communities living in the reserves have no proper finances that can enable them put up such processing plants. The government also seems to be less concerned about these individuals. Although most parts of the state are supplied with treated water, this region seems to be forgotten. People in this region therefore have no alternative but to take this contaminated water. This has adverse effects on their health as is discussed below.

Health consequences

Human health is easily affected by what is taken in or what the body is subjected to. Although other types of food may be cooked, drinking water is rarely boiled within these societies. Westhues (68) says that most of the inhabitants of this region have traditional reasoning on matters pertaining to health.

Westhues uses an example of an individual who was actually a leader in this community saying that water is naturally clean and therefore needs no further cleaning. This reasoning is not only retrogressive, but also dangerous because it fails to realize the dangers posed by consumption of such water.

The researcher worked at the Union Gospel Mission in East Downtown Vancouver from which a number of individuals who had once been residents of these reserves recounted their experiences. From the reports they gave, it was evident that Aboriginal people have been subjected to highly contaminated water. This explained the prevalence of such issues as dysentery and diarrhoea in this region. As Westhues (71) notes, there are also high prevalence of diseases in this region.

Health clinics found in this region are ill equipped, with physicians who are not fully trained to provide health solutions to patients. This has seen various patients succumb to simple and treatable health complications such as dysentery and chorea. Such diseases would easily be treated by antibiotics. According to the Indian Act of Canada enacted in 1876, there was a provision that clearly defined how those living in the reserves would be treated by the central government.

This law has since been reformed to reflect the current societal needs. Some of the provisions of this act state that the central government would provide proper infrastructure and other facilities that are basic such as healthcare to its citizens. Also mentioned in this act is the provision of clean water for domestic use. The Canadian government therefore has a responsibility to ensure that these individuals are provided with the basic needs if they are to be saved from the dangers of diseases emerging from the use of contaminated water.

The Canadian population staying in towns may also play a role in ensuring that living standards of those staying in reserves are improved. A unified effort can bring this change. The indifferent attitude adopted by the Canadians is a cause of concern. Other parts of this country have excess resources ranging from the transport system to banking units and recreational facilities. Supply of clean water is constantly available. Moreover, these people have enough money to afford bottled water, an item that is very rare among those living in reserves.

It is therefore heartbreaking when some nationals blame the Aboriginal Communities for their deteriorating health conditions saying that they should learn to be clean enough. Pushing the blame to them may not help unless clean water is provided to them. It is through this that they would be in a position to maintain their cleanliness. It is the only way the government and the entire community can be certain that health conditions of those staying in reserves is taken care of.


Aboriginal people living in reserves are faced with challenges ranging from poverty and lesser levels of literacy among its populace to lack of proper infrastructure and other basic items such as water. In this research, it was sad to realize that most of the people staying in these reserves undergo serious health problems that could be easily avoided if they were provided with clean water.

The water they use in these reserves is dirty and health experts confirmed that they are contaminated with Ecoli, a virus that causes diseases. The locals do not seem to realize the dangers posed by taking contaminated water due to their limited education. For this reason, they take this water without boiling it hence introducing the virus into their bodies. Because of the financial constrain in their present situation, proper treatment may be a burden to them. This has seen some of them succumb to simple ailments that would be avoided if clean water could be supplied.


There is need to ensure that every Canadian has access to the basic requirements, which are to be supplied by the state. One of the most important basic needs is the provision of clean water for domestic use. The government has the responsibility to supply water to the reserves, just as it does in other parts of the country. Although this task should be left to the government, other societal members can take it upon themselves to ensure that water is supplied to these people. Boreholes can actually be constructed to supply water.

This would need some financing. Well-wishers can therefore donate some money for this project. A credible institution such as the Union Gospel Mission in East Downtown Vancouver can manage the project so that people in the reserves can access clean water.

In the mean time, concerned authorities should lay out plans on how to supply this region with clean tap water. Human beings cannot survive without water hence the government and other concerned authorities should concentrate on providing it to the locals. Without proper budgeting, this would be a difficult task.

Works Cited

Milbourne, Paul. Welfare Reform in Rural Places: Comparative Perspectives. Vancouver: Emerald, 2010. Print.

Westhues, Anne. Canadian social policy: issues and perspectives. Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006. Print.

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