Rain and money needed to fix Fortune, Grand Bank water woes
Residents and business owners from Fortune and Grand Bank on Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula are being asked to use their water wisely.
That's because the mostly dry and hot conditions this summer, coupled with an aging dam, have left both town's water reservoirs at worrisome levels.
"We don't know how much longer we're going to go without rain, or a significant amount of rain, so we're trying to preserve so that we don't have to impose [more] severe restrictions," Penwell said.
Water levels in the Fortune reservoir are said to be about six feet lower than usual.
The backup reservoir in Grand Bank is said to be as much as 15 feet lower than normal.
A cracking, crumbling dam
The concern is not only about the lack of water but the quality of some parts of the area's water system, as it continues to age and crumble.
"It was built in the early 1970s and it has reached a point now where the deterioration of the dam [means] we're losing gallons and gallons of water per minute," said Matthews.
"[We're losing] thousands of gallons, and our water supply system is way down here in Grand Bank."
Matthews said the town has asked the Newfoundland Labrador government for financial help but that it could take years to come through.
Connected water supply systems
"We do have an option where we can take Grand Bank off our water supply and they can revert back to their old system," Penwell said.
"But we're hoping not to have to do that because the water we're providing now is much better quality," he said.
Both mayors said they need a good three days of rain for the reservoirs to get back to a comfortable level.
Until then, residents in both towns are being asked to conserve their water usage by not watering their lawns and gardens, not wash their cars and to take short showers only, among other conservation measures.
Environment Canada is forecasting about 20 mm of rain over the next 48 hours as the weather system known as Cristobal transitions to a post tropical storm into Friday, staying to the southeast of the Island.