In December 2018, the Ermineskin Cree Nation concluded a government to government agreement with the Province of Alberta regarding water. The Agreement makes no compromises about Ermineskin’s Treaty rights or our right to govern water on our lands and is based on mutual respect and cooperation.
The Agreement was necessary for several reasons but most importantly to address issues with ground water on Ermineskin’s reserve lands. Ground water resources have been declining in quality and quantity for some time making water treatment and supply increasingly costly and challenging for our Nation.
The Agreement secures $26 million to build a water line from the Red Deer River to Ermineskin which will mean a safe supply of water that can meet our Nation’s needs for 50 years or more. The Agreement also puts in place measures to protect our Nation’s critically important ground water resources from further impacts.
No other First Nation has concluded an agreement like this, on such favourable and positive terms, with the Government of Alberta.
The implementation of the Agreement was delayed due to a change in government and other factors such as the pandemic. Implementation is now back on track with the Government of Alberta recently committing an additional $13 million to the project. It is expected that construction of the water line will start in late 2020.
Safe drinking water
Ermineskin was in negotiations with the Government of Canada to settle a lawsuit about funding for water and wastewater treatment facilities.
Those negotiations were temporarily paused due to a few factors but mostly because of the pandemic. The parties have recently reached an agreement on how to safely resume meetings and so the negotiations will resume in late July, 2020.
We are optimistic that the negotiations will secure significant new financial investments in water infrastructure at Ermineskin.
– From the July 2, 2020 Ermineskin Cree Nation newsletter