Toronto – A growing water crisis in Nunavut’s capital, Iqaluit, is revealing how uncertain the drinking water situation is for the city.
Tuesday, of the city The health department declared a local emergency And residents were advised not to drink water because of the possibility of petroleum hydrocarbons in the water supply.
Approximately 8,000 residents of Iqaluit are advised not to drink tap water for cooking or cooking until further notice, but tap water and filtered water are not safe. Laundry, cleaning and showers are safe, unless you swallow water while bathing, the city said.
Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell told CTV’s PowerPlay that inspectors have discovered the smell of “petroleum products” in the containment units the city uses to store its drinking water.
“It’s too early to point out what it is, but if I were a bettor and a petroleum product, I doubt it would have been damaged by climate change,” he said.
“We have a very warm and humid summer here in Iqaluit, and of course climate change is affecting us very much. Maybe the permafrost has melted and our facility has moved.”
While the discovery of petroleum odors is relatively new to city officials, Iqaluit residents have noticed it for more than a week.
“I feel like the city should have been doing the tests two weeks ago and their job is to keep us safe,” Ikaluit resident Katy Hughes told the Canadian Press.
Water samples were sent for testing, but it may take up to five business days to hear the results. While they wait, city officials are in the process of cleaning up the tank and checking for any leaks or cracks.
Bell said it may still be a few days before the tap water is safe to drink. In the meantime, the crisis has revealed how unstable the water reserves are for the city.
Residents are currently paying about $ 9 for a liter of bottled water and have lined up for hours to buy it. As reported by the Canadian Press on Wednesday, Iqaluit’s major grocery stores – Arctic Ventures and Northmart – have sold both bottled water and plastic jugs.
Meanwhile, the city has tapped the reserves at nearby Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park to supply its seniors and people in need. Bell said some residents are going to the park to fill water and inadvertently prevent city officials from entering.
“It’s a scary situation,” he said.
“We have the world’s cleanest water, but accessing it is a challenge and the city of Iqaluit has been in a water crisis for about five years.”
Nunavut has pledged to bring 81,000 liters from Ottawa to help meet demand.
While Bell hopes it can be solved in the short term, there are plenty of long-term problems with the water supply the city is also dealing with.
The city’s waterways and water treatment facilities are too small for the population of Iqaluit and need to be repaired, Bell said.
“There is a major problem and we have to fix it,” he said.
The city has asked the federal government for $ 133 million to repair the infrastructure surrounding the water supply, and Bell is hopeful of a response.
“Everybody is continuing on the same side. It’s scary,” he said.
With files from CTVNews.ca writer Nicole Bogart and The Canadian Press