The mayor of North West River says workers and volunteers have found the water leak that has plagued the town for more than a week and led to a state of emergency. 

Mayor Derek Montague said he feared the town would have to bring in an outside consultant at a considerable cost, and it was a huge relief to find the source of the problem.

"We were all ecstatic. Under normal circumstances, it's a bad thing to find a leak in town, but after all we've been through … it was great, " he said Wednesday on CBC Radio's Labrador Morning.

'Under normal circumstances, it's a bad thing to find a leak in town, but after all we've been through … it was great.' - Derek Montague

A new 7.5 horsepower pump installed on Sunday increased water pressure, but continued problems suggested there was a leak in the system.

Montague said crews finally found the leak on Tuesday.

"We were searching all over town and that line break was about a 10-second walk from the town council building where we meet everyday," he said.

Crews find source of leak in North West River0:29

Montague said workers from other Labrador communities and a team of local volunteers narrowed down the leak to an area on River Road.

"The guys who came down from Happy Valley-Goose Bay used a thing called a [leak noise] correlator which gives a computer graph reading, and we got a pretty big hit in a particular area," he said.

"As soon as one of our guys started digging that exact spot with the backhoe, we saw water gushing up out of the ground … we made a pretty big hole in the ground, it looked like a small pond when all was said and done."

Still asking residents to conserve

On Wednesday morning, the mayor said water levels in the town's reservoir looked to be on the rise, and he was hearing from residents who had regained full water pressure in their homes. 

Montague is still asking people to continue to conserve water, however, and said he doesn't want to rush to lift the state of emergency.

North West River

The town of North West River has been in a state of emergency more than a week. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"We'll probably want to see good water levels and have them stay consistent," he said.

"I wouldn't want to lift the state of emergency or ask people to stop conserving water until at least 24 hours where we see if the system is staying stable or not."  

A boil water advisory also remains in effect in North West River, and Montague said it could last into next week because the province has to determine if the water is safe to drink.

With files from Labrador Morning