Iqaluit gets green light to pump water from Unnamed Lake

Decision comes in response to record low levels in city’s water reservoir

City of Iqaluit officials will begin pumping water from the Unnamed Lake in response to record low water levels in the city’s water reservoir, Lake Geraldine, pictured here. (Photo by Jim Bell)

By Emma Tranter

The City of Iqaluit says it has received approval to begin pumping water from Apex River and Unnamed Lake to supplement the city’s water reservoir.

The approval comes in response to low rainfall and snowfall in 2019, causing Lake Geraldine to be at its lowest level ever for this time of year.

Water levels in the Apex River, the city’s secondary water source, are also at a historic low, the city told reporters recently.

As a result, the city applied for an emergency amendment to its water licence. That amendment involves temporarily pumping water from Unnamed Lake to the Lake Geraldine reservoir via the Apex River.

Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s minister of Crown-Indigenous relations and northern affairs, approved the amendment Aug. 12, the city said in a news release.

Lorne Kusugak, Nunavut’s minister of community and government services, also declared the situation to be an emergency, the release said.

Kitikmeot Community Futures Inc., Job Opportunity – Executive Director

City council held an in-camera emergency meeting Aug. 12 to discuss the amendment, where it was approved.

“I would like to thank and acknowledge our hunters and elders who recommended the Unnamed Lake that could supplement the city reservoir. The City is also very appreciative of our residents’ assistance in conserving water and reminds all community members to be water wise,” said Iqaluit’s mayor, Madeleine Redfern.

The Unnamed Lake is located 3.5 kilometres north of the Apex River pumping site.

To pump water from the lake, the city is building a trail that starts from the Road to Nowhere to Unnamed Lake. The trail will allow for the transportation of heavy equipment, fuel and other supplies in preparation for pumping, the city said.

The city also said it anticipates pumping approximately 700 million litres of water from the Unnamed Lake.

Although the city will use the Unnamed Lake temporarily, they are also researching the lake as a possible long-term water resource.

Invitation to submit an expression of interest as to the availability of space for lease in Iqaluit, Nunavut

The city asks residents to avoid construction areas around the Unnamed Lake and the Apex River.

Access to Iqaluit’s shooting range will remain suspended until pumping activities are complete, the city said.

Pumping is expected to begin Aug. 25 and continue until Oct. 15.

This map shows the pumping sites that are under construction as part of the city’s plans to pump water from the Unnamed Lake to refill Iqaluit’s water reservoir. (Photo courtesy of City of Iqaluit)

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