Nova Scotia

Province doing all it can to help drought-stricken Nova Scotians, says minister

The minister in charge of emergency management says the province is doing all it can for the 1,000 families whose wells have run dry, primarily in southwestern Nova Scotia.

'All who need water are getting it,' says Zach Churchill, minister responsible for emergency management

A volunteer firefighter in Nova Scotia's Port Medway checks the water level in a local well. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The Nova Scotia government says it was doing everything it can to help a thousand families whose wells have run dry this summer. 

On Thursday, the minister responsible for emergency management office, praised municipal staff and volunteers who have been keeping fire halls and municipal facilities open so those who need water can get it.

"Ground Search and Rescue, volunteer fire departments have put countless hours in ensuring that people who need water are getting it," Zach Churchill said.

"All that can be done is being done."

Retailers donate bottled water

The province has now heard from 1,000 families who have reported their wells have run dry.

"Right now everyone who does need water is receiving it," said Churchill. "That's something I think that we can be proud of."

Municipal Affairs Minister Zach Churchill says there is no long-term solution to help drought-stricken areas of Nova Scotia. The province simply needs rain. (Jean LaRoche/CBC)

Sobeys and other retailers have donated bottled water, which will soon be delivered to areas of the province in need.

Churchill said he'd authorized spending up to $50,000 on bottled water and the first truckload is expected to arrive in southwestern Nova Scotia on Friday.

As for any long-term solution for those who want their wells refilled with water, Churchill said there was nothing the province could do.

'We need rain'

"There's nothing we can do about the water table," he said. "These wells that are dug wells are dry because they're dependent on the water table being at a certain level. We need half a foot of water [about 15 cm] to replenish that water source and we are fully dependent on the weather in that regard."

Churchill said 15 centimetres of water is required to bring the water table up to a place where wells will be able to hold water again.

"Before that happens, all we can do is ensure that people who need water are getting it both for drinking and for daily use."

Churchill told reporters Thursday there is no relief in sight for at least the next two weeks. However, Environment Canada is forecasting the possibility of sustained rain throughout the province Sunday night.