Residents of Winnipeg's St. Vital ward packed a local school on Monday night to share their concerns about their drinking water in light of a recent boil water advisory.

The forum was hosted by St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes, who says it was important to hear directly from citizens about issues related to their water.

"People would like to have a new community centre or a new toboggan slide, but what they really want is safe water and healthy water, so we've got to make it a priority," he said.

The boil water advisory was imposed on Oct. 8 for an area in southern St. Vital — affecting some 12,500 households — after water sample tests showed positive results for low-level E. coli bacteria.

A second round of tests came back negative, prompting officials to lift the precautionary advisory the next day.

Residents in St. Vital and other parts of Winnipeg have also complained of discoloured water flowing from their taps in recent months.

Debbie Sanders, who attended Monday's forum, said she has seen brown water off and on for some time, but she didn't know of the boil water advisory when it was issued.

"I didn't find out until just this past week, when I got the notice saying there was going to be a hearing here. That was my first understanding [that] there was a problem," she said.

Sanders said the fact that she only found out about the advisory this week speaks to an apparent lack of communication between the city and residents.

"They sure know how to get a hold of us when there's an election to tell us to vote. I think they could have done the same thing with the water issue, being that it is a serious issue," she said.

The City of Winnipeg is expected to release a report on the discoloured water problems at the end of this year.