IQALUIT, Nunavut — The city of Iqaluit declared a state of emergency on Friday due to a water shortage.
Nunavut’s capital said there has been a lack of precipitation this summer and flows on the Apex River, which is Iqaluit’s secondary water replenishment source, are at their lowest in 40 years.
As a result, Lake Geraldine, which serves as a water reservoir for Iqaluit, will not be replenished until freeze-up.
The city said it is working to get regulatory approval to pump additional water from nearby unnamed lake into the Apex River and then into Lake Geraldine.
The city said it will have to pump over 500 million liters of water. Once approved, pumping is expected to take approximately 40 days depending on rainfall.
It has long been questioned whether the water reservoir can meet the needs of Iqaluit’s growing population of over 7,700 people.
Mayor Kenny Bell, at an emergency city council meeting regarding the water supply on Friday, said work was underway to fix the problem.
The federal government committed more than $214 million in April to support a new reservoir and upgrade Iqaluit’s water distribution system. The city anticipates that it will take four years before the project is completed.
A state of emergency in Iqaluit was declared in October 2021 when the city’s water supply was contaminated with fuel and subsequently a tar-like substance.
The city has since been using a water treatment bypass system to prevent contamination.
The city said it currently meets or exceeds all territorial requirements and federal guidelines for its drinking water. He said further steps to fill the reservoir will not impact drinking water quality.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 12, 2022.
The Canadian Press