Nunavut gov’t declares emergency over Iqaluit’s low water levels

Iqaluit’s Unnamed Lake, or Qikiqtalik Lake. The Nunavut government has followed the City of Iqaluit’s lead in declaring a state of emergency to expedite the pumping of water from this lake into the city reservoir. (David Gunn/CBC)

The Nunavut government says it’s declaring its own state of emergency over Iqaluit’s water shortage, speeding up the approvals needed for the city to start pumping much-needed water into its reservoir.

Last week, the city announced that a lack of rain this summer has meant there isn’t enough water in its Lake Geraldine reservoir to last the winter. Water levels were less than half the normal amount; the city would need to pump water from Qikiqtalik Lake, also known as Unnamed Lake, to fill the reservoir.

In a statement Friday morning, the territorial government said its own declaration would make it faster for Iqaluit to “take necessary measures” before lakes start to freeze up. The city has plans to pump over 500 million litres of water into the reservoir.

Joanna Quassa, the acting minister of Community and Government Services, said the declaration will allow the city to start replenishing its reservoir “without delay.”

“We are working closely with the City of Iqaluit and have agreed to provide equipment from CGS’s Emergency Measures Inventory to support the pumping operation,” she stated.

The city has been warning residents to conserve water since May.

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