Craik, population 400, has been facing a boil water advisory since August 2010, when the province found its old plant didn’t meet minimum disinfection standards.
“Sometimes it was yellow and sometimes it was brown and sometimes there was dirt in it,” one resident recalled.
Not only were locals forced to boil their water or purchase bottled water, they endured damage to their washing machines.
The new facility was completed thanks to $950,659 in federal funding, $475,329 from the province and a similar contribution from the town’s taxpayers.
The townspeople celebrated Saturday with a pancake breakfast, barbeque, horse wagon rides and musical performances.
“This is truly exciting,” said Mayor David Ashdown. “Clean drinking water is the first priority for any thriving community.”
Ashdown hopes the clean water will help attract new people to village.
“It’s a bit of a hindrance when you say ‘Well, we’d like you to come live here but you’re going to have to boil your water,’” he told CTV Regina.
Although Craik is not a First Nation, the federal Liberal government has been working to reduce long-term boil water advisories on reserves.
The government reports that it has cut the number on boil water advisories in half since 2015, from 105 to 58. They plan to eliminate them fully by 2021.