Where is Smoky Lake's drinking water going?

People in the town of Smoky Lake, Alta., are trying to figure out why their drinking water is vanishing.

Missing water costing municipality $5,000 month

(Getty Images)

People in the town of Smoky Lake, Alta., are trying to figure out why their drinking water is vanishing.

The municipality, 115 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, started buying treated drinking water from Edmonton just over a year ago, but since then, town staff has noticed water is missing:

"This is unacceptable,” Randy Mykitiuk deputy mayor of Smoky Lake. “We have to find out where this water is going. What's going on?"

About $56,000 worth of water disappeared between November 2013 and September 2014.

“It's costing us probably $5,000 a month more than it should be,” said Harvey Prockiw, chief administrative officer.

“People are entrusting us to figure out and solve those issues. Otherwise we've got to increase the water rates to make up for the losses. It's not a good situation.”

Staff put meters on each water user and fixed all the leaks they knew about.

Still 30 per cent of the water going out is not getting through — that's triple the accepted industry standard for water loss.

Mykitiuk does not expect government help.

"The provinces have downloaded so much on the municipality in the last couple years, I can't see them helping at all with this."

Prockiw believes there's a leak somewhere in the pipe system, but as the town did not track how much water it was using before taking water from Edmonton, it’s not known if the leak existed before the switch.

The town is now considering buying costly new equipment to help them find the leak - and solve the mystery.



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