After all 3 water trucks in Kangiqsualujjuaq broke down, community rallied with pickup trucks

Many small, northern communities rely on water trucks to deliver clean water to homes, including Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, in northern Quebec, which recently had all three of its water trucks break down.

'It was really hard,' says hamlet's mayor

A pickup truck, makeshift tubs and a water pump were all that people in Kangiqsualujjuaq needed to get by when all three of the community's water trucks broke down at the same time. (Submitted by Sam Senguin)

Many smaller communities rely solely on water trucks to deliver clean water to home. So when the trucks break down, it becomes a headache and even a crisis.

That was the case for Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, in northern Quebec, where recently, all three water trucks broke down and were in disrepair for almost three weeks.

"It was a difficult thing because all the water trucks were broken plus all the parts were being backordered from the company we ordered parts from," said Mayor David Annanack, adding that COVID-19 was also causing an issue at the factories where they get parts. 

But, with the help of some pick up trucks, Annanack said the community — with a population a little over 1,000 and  about 300 houses that need water delivery — was able to manage.

"It was very slow but we managed to give some houses some water," he said.

People in the community worked to distribute water to homes while its three water trucks were out of service. (Submitted by Sam Senguin)

The community normally has two water trucks in operation, and three altogether, he said. The trucks for water and sewage run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

"Eventually, they break down," he said. 

To keep the water flowing, he said people with pickup trucks began collecting water from the local reservoir and hauling water to peoples' homes "by themselves," with the help of a water pump.

"It's a very tiring job," he said.

While the water trucks are now fixed, Annanack said he'd like for the community to receive water and sewage trucks that are made for northern communities, and for there to be spare trucks available in communities that rely on them.

"When we are in a very isolated place, during winter especially, there's no way to get a new water truck," he said.

With files from Cindy Alorut