Drinking Water in the NWT

Ensuring Safe Drinking Water

In the NWT we use a multi-barrier framework to ensure safe drinking water. This method was selected for the NWT since this approach is universally recognized as the most comprehensive method for protecting drinking water quality.  The use of multiple barriers means that if one barrier fails, there are back-up systems and processes to block the flow of any harmful impurities.

The NWT multi-barrier framework is based on a three-layer approach, each representing a fundamental line of defence: keeping NWT water cleanmaking drinking water safe, and proving drinking water is safe.

Source Water Protection – Keeping NWT Water Clean

All levels of government recognize the need to make the protection of source water a priority. This is achieved by selecting the purest sources of water and protecting these sources from contamination. The GNWT has primary responsibility for source water management and GNWT departments are involved in several partnerships that undertake initiatives to promote the protection of source water. 

Water Treatment

Making water safe to drink involves several activities which remove natural or human-made impurities.  This is achieved by determining what impurities are present in the water supply, then installing and operating treatment systems to remove or defend against impurities. 

Monitoring and Testing

As a final protection against unsafe drinking water, there are a number of safeguards which help to verify the quality of water being provided to residents.  Where problems are identified, action is taken to correct them.  Ongoing monitoring of water system operations and regular testing of water provide early notice of such problems. The results of this monitoring and testing must be communicated to residents to give them confidence in the quality of the water they use.