Rural Sask. residents wait for water after Husky spill, and for answers about compensation
Sarah Anderson wants to know who will pay for her new water storage system
With her water supply cut off because of the Husky oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River, Sarah Anderson is preparing to buy a second water storage system worth between $800 and $1,200.
As a resident of the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert, Anderson's water supply has been halted indefinitely and her existing tank is almost dry, so water is an immediate concern.
- Husky Energy emails are ineffective in wake of oil spill, says expert
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Although finding water to fill the tanks is a problem she has not solved yet, the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert's water utility has been delivering water to some rural residents.
Who will pay?
Another question looming over Anderson's family of four is whether the cost of buying the tank will be covered.
On Tuesday, the RM's rural water utility was encouraging its residents to keep all receipts for bottled water and other purchases in the belief that Husky Energy, whose oil pipeline spilled into the community's primary drinking water source, will provide compensation.
Husky has set up a toll-free phone number to Braemar, a third-party insurance agent, for private citizen and business claims.
The rural water utility usually purchases and supplies water from the City of Prince Albert, but the city has cut off its supply to the RM to give priority its own residents.
Water restrictions are being enforced in the city after it shut off its water intake system following the upstream oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River.
- Husky oil spill began when pumping resumed through pipeline expansion project
- Rural areas thirsting for water after Prince Albert plant shut down due to Husky oil spill
A 30-kilometre, temporary waterline to pump water from the South Saskatchewan River to the city is expected to be completed on Friday.
City of Prince Albert manager Jim Toye told reporters on Thursday the city would not restart the pumps to rural communities until it knew how much water the new line would supply.
"What we do not want to do is provide them service for two days and have to stop again," said Toye.
Finding a way
In the meantime, Anderson said she and her neighbours were finding resourceful ways to store and recycle water.
Anderson is worried it could be weeks before her taps are running normally again.
"The thing that is frustrating about this is that there's really no answers for us, as rural people … as to when our water will come back on," she said.
The City of Prince Albert is asking residents or businesses with insurance questions to call Braemar at 1-844-461-7991 and fill out a claim over the phone or request a claim form through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning