NEWS
07/14/2011 06:15 EDT | Updated 09/13/2011 05:12 EDT

First Nations Drinking Water At High Or Medium Risk: Report

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- SASKATOON - A new report shows an increase in the number of high-risk drinking water systems on First Nations.

The national assessment released by the federal government found 39 per cent of 807 drinking water systems inspected from July 2009 to this spring were classified as high overall risk.

That's up from about 29 per cent of 740 community water systems inspected for a national assessment in 2003.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan says that doesn't mean the water is unsafe, noting that the rating measures the overall operation of the system.

The review also says that 15 per cent of wastewater systems inspected on First Nations are at a high overall risk and 51 per cent are a medium overall risk.

Duncan says more needs to be done to improve training, certification and monitoring to ensure the safety of drinking water in First Nations communities.

He says the federal government will reintroduce legislation this fall to overhaul the standards.