Nunavut declares state of emergency over Iqaluit water supply

Step allows government to ‘deploy necessary resources’ to protect public health and municipal infrastructure

Iqaluit residents line up to fill jugs of water at a fill station near the library on Wednesday morning. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Nunatsiaq News

The Government of Nunavut declared a state of emergency Thursday in response to the crisis in Iqaluit’s water supply, two days after the City of Iqaluit took the same step at the municipal level.

Since Tuesday, Iqaluit residents have been told not to drink the city’s tap water because the city suspects the water supply has been contaminated by some form of petroleum product.

Since early October, some city residents complained about an odour in the city’s water. Samples were collected earlier this week and sent to a lab in the south with results expected next week.

Community and Government Services Minister Jeannie Ehaloak declared the state of emergency under the territory’s Emergency Management Act.

The move took effect immediately, according to a government news release issued at 5:15 p.m. Thursday. The state of emergency will remain in effect for a two-week period ending Oct. 27.

“I want to assure the people of Nunavut, especially those in Iqaluit, that we are taking this water issue very seriously,” Ehaloak said.

The declaration allows the Nunavut government to “ensure the necessary supports are available to the City of Iqaluit and its residents,” the release states.

The Government of Nunavut says the step will allow it to move more quickly to “deploy necessary resources” to support the ongoing efforts to protect public health and the City of Iqaluit’s infrastructure.

The government news release did not elaborate what resources might be deployed. A department spokesperson could not be immediately reached for a comment.

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by Glug Glug on

    The declaration allows the Nunavut government to “ensure the necessary supports are available to the City of Iqaluit and its residents,” the release states.
    What about the other communities in Nunavut that have been under “do not drink the water” advisories for much, much longer?
    But then again, this is Iqaluit and election day is less than 2 weeks away.

    • Posted by Tik on

      I think the difference here is residents can’t even boil the water to drink it. It can’t be consumed in any form.

    • Posted by Apple and Orange on

      The water problems are an entirely different nature – chemical vs. biological contamination. Bleach/boiling are not options in Iqaluit.

    • Posted by bob on

      Do some reading before you complain. Iqaluit cannot even boil their water, taps are pretty much useless. Certain communities have been under boil water advisories, and as some people point out they still have running water available to them. Sheesh! So quick to jump to conclusions just to complain. If you are going to be a little internet troll at least be accurate about it.

  2. Posted by Citizen on

    So during today’s water distribution they asked for house # when handing out the water.
    Will there be a priority for the rest of us that didn’t get water during the next hand out?

  3. Posted by ahh on

    2 days later. It was evident to the whole city, and anyone else in the country who watched the news Tuesday evening that this is an actual emergency.

  4. Posted by articrick on

    Man, everyone is delusional for following your city officials, next election, bell won’t be mayor, bets are 1/2, those are good odds😂

  5. Posted by Jed maitland-carter on

    North Water Greenland ApS stands ready to provide long term Greenland ice melt water supply to Iqaluit and Nunavut.

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