School on Fond du Lac First Nation closed for lack of water
Students now almost 2 weeks behind in classes
The local school on the Fond du Lac First Nation in northern Saskatchewan is now into its second week of no classes because of a lack of water.
The school relies on a community water system in need of repairs. The pump at the main well broke down two weeks ago, forcing the community to switch to a different water source.
The pump was eventually fixed, but by that time, the pipes had frozen and were blocked with ice.
The result was low water pressure — too low to operate any washrooms at the school.
"Those systems operate on high-pressure water systems, and without the pressure systems, the toilets and water systems are affected," Daryl Mcdonald, CEO of the Fond du Lac band told CBC News. "It's a hygiene and health issue, which is a major concern. Basically, it has forced us to shut down."
Mcdonald said that securing a reliable water supply has been a problem for several years on the reserve. He said the band has been asking for money from the federal government for a new system.
But Trevor Sutter, a Regina-based spokesperson for Indian and Northern Affairs, told CBC News there are no serious problems that need to be urgently addressed.
"In Saskatchewan, our water systems are fairly well maintained," Sutter said in an interview on Wednesday. "Currently, we have no high-risk systems in Saskatchewan. Throughout the '90s we invested heavily into water infrastructure."
In addition to the school being closed, Mcdonald said, 20 homes on the reserve were without water.
Officials hope the blocked pipes can be fixed by late next week.