Nfld. & Labrador

Hopedale's water supply drying up, town still in a state of emergency

Residents in the northern Labrador town of Hopedale are in a race against time to find and fix several pipe leaks that have been draining the community's water supply.
The community of Hopedale has been under a state of emergency since late March, and local ponds that feed into the community are drying up. (Google Maps)

Residents in the northern Labrador town of Hopedale are in a race against time to find — and fix several pipe leaks that have been draining the community's water supply.

Hopedale has been under a state of emergency since late March, and local ponds that feed into the town are drying up.

AngajukKak Jim Tuttauk told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning the town has been trying to patch up the leaks since the ground started to thaw in May.

But with the drier summer weather, and the constant leaking, the water supply continues to struggle.

"We are approximately four feet below normal levels at the primary pond," said Tuttauk. 

"We are still working on a few leaks. Without finding these leaks quickly, we have approximately 129 days of water in our pond. It is still a major concern ... we are still in a state of emergency."

Tuttauk said most of the leaks are in pipes leading to homes, not the main line.

"A lot of them are copper pipes, and have been thawed so many times over the years that they've become deformed," he said. 

Tuttauk tips his hat to Hopedale residents

Tuttauk said one of the main issues the town now faces is water security.

"At one time, we had water problems. Now we have a water security issue, and we don't know how long our water's going to last us anymore until we get this sorted out," he said.

"Then I, along with the rest of the community will probably sleep better." 

A lot of them are copper pipes, and have been thawed so many times over the years that they've become deformed.- Hopedale AngajukKak Jim Tuttauk

Tuttauk said since calling the state of emergency in March, residents have rallied together.

"I take my hat off to the residents of Hopedale. It's been a very tough time since March 23, and people have responded big time, by calling up and telling us where they spot leaks, and also trying to conserve water as much as possible."

Tuttauk said the town is hoping to get a control on the majority of the larger leaks in the next two weeks.

He said the town has been looking at trying to pump water from another pond, although he adds that the initiative would be a costly proposition.

Tuttauk said if a solution isn't found soon, he's worried there won't be enough water for the community to get through the winter.

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