Nfld. & Labrador

Ongoing water shortage in Hopedale forces cancellation of heritage forum

Workers in Hopedale are feverishly fixing leaky pipes and an emergency shipment is en route as the 600 or so residents of the Labrador community continues to cope with a severe shortage of water.

Community leader says archaic infrastructure in need of repair; emergency shipment on the way

Jimmy Tuttauk is the angajukKâk, or mayor, of Hopedale. (Leah Balass/CBC)

Workers in Hopedale are feverishly fixing leaky pipes and an emergency shipment is en route as the 600 or so residents of the Labrador community continues to cope with a severe shortage of water.

The situation is so bad that delegates attending a heritage forum in the town were "turned back" Monday, said Jimmy Tuttauk, the town's AngajukKâk, or mayor.

He said levels in the two reservoirs are nearly four feet below normal, and residents are being asked to use water very sparingly.

There was plenty of run-off from this winter's heavy snowfall, but Tuttauk said the water is "bleeding" through the community as leaks continue to open up in the pipes.

A network of garden hoses is delivering water to many homes, and the situation is increasingly frustrating, he said.

Tuttauk blamed the leaks on aging infrastructure and shifting in the ground following the spring thaw.

"'We need extra hands to help us deal with this," he said.

A shipment of water is expected to arrive Tuesday evening, and Tuttauk was also hoping to hold emergency talks with provincial government officials to discuss a long-term solution.

"It's never ending," Tuttauk said.

The local hotel is losing much-needed business, he added.

Tuttauk said it's hoped the leaks can be repaired by the end of the week. He said they'll also need some precipitation to replenish the water supply.

The water woes hit hard this past winter, and now there's talk about reactivating several artesian wells. But Tuttauk said water from the wells "tastes bad."

As for fears about fire, Tuttauk said they can pump water from the ocean or local streams.

Tuttauk asked for residents to remain patient as the situation is addressed.

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