Nova Scotia

How some people are coping with the drought in southwestern Nova Scotia

The lack of water in southwestern Nova Scotia has been called a disaster and an emergency — and with no rain in sight, people are getting creative in order to make do.

Many residents' wells dried up months ago

Southwestern Nova Scotia is so dry that officials have been calling the lack of water a disaster. (CBC)

The lack of water in southwestern Nova Scotia has been called a disaster and an emergency — and with no rain in sight, people are getting creative in order to make do:

Rocks in the toilet tank

The well has dried up at the Port Grocer in Port Medway and the restaurant is doing everything it can to stay open. Deb Melanson, the co-owner, said members of the Port Medway Fire Department have been arriving once or twice a week with water deliveries.

"I don't know how people are surviving without getting the fire department to help them out. They've been a lifesaver for us," she said.

Deb Melanson put rocks in the back of the toilets at her restaurant to conserve water. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

Melanson has put large rocks in the toilet tanks to make sure they fill with less water.

"You do what you have to, to keep the business going."

Fish tanks

In Pubnico, Basile and Jeanelle d'Entremont were watering their tomatoes in their greenhouse when the well ran out of water.

They have a 1,000-litre fish tank outside their house and depend on shipments from their son to fill it up so they have enough water for their daily needs.

Basile d'Entremont checks out his water supply in a 1,000 litre fish tank that sits outside his house. (Peter Dawson/CBC)

"It's a very serious situation right now," said Jeanelle d'Entremont. "We've been here 45 years and it's never been at all this low."

She says she's realistic about what governments can do to help.

"Unfortunately the municipality can't make it rain," she said.

Recycling from a dehumidifier

It's a move that might make some people cringe, but the warden of the Municipality of the District of Argyle says he knows one man who was so determined to shave, he used the water collected in his dehumidifier.

Aldric d'Entremont doesn't recommend others do the same.

Aldric d'Entremont says he knows a man so desperate to shave he used water collected in his dehumidifier. (Peter Dawson/CBC)

Schools and fire halls have opened their doors to allow people to bathe if they're out of water. He's meeting with council on Tuesday night to see if there's more the community can do to help.

"Hopefully, we can do something," he said. "We have to do something. It's come to that."

Incorporating daily exercise

Terry Hawkins's well dried up at the end of June. He says one of the only bright spots is he's now in excellent shape because he makes up to seven trips a day to his neighbour's house, lugging pails of water home.

"It's great for exercise," he said. "But it is annoying to have dinner and think, 'Will we go to bed or will I walk across the street to wash the dishes?"

Hawkins says this has been a lesson for the community on how valuable water is, but the situation is serious.

For the last two months, Terry Hawkins has been filling these pails of water and walking home seven times a day. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

He wants other towns to send water deliveries using milk trucks. He's also wondering if the military can help. He says they specialize in helping communities in droughts around the world, and now the help is needed at home.

"We are in trouble. This town is in trouble," he said. "We are at the critical line of being in a disaster."

Shopping carts

Velda Acker has been filling up large water jugs at the Shelburne Fire Hall every three days.

Her brother is there to help her, so she considers herself lucky. But she knows one mother who pushes a shopping cart full of water between the fire hall and her home in order to have enough of it for her three kids.

"You have to do what you have to do," she said. "It's a very sad situation."

Velda Acker has to fill up at the fire hall three times a week, but still considers herself lucky compared to some of her neighbours. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)