Pumping begins to help top up Iqaluit’s Lake Geraldine

“We have achieved our goal of being able to pump during freshet”

Prior to pumping from the Apex River into Lake Geraldine, seen here on June 24, water levels were increasing as a result of normal spring flow. (Photo by Meagan Deuling)

By Dustin Patar

Pumping from the Apex River into Lake Geraldine has begun.

This is the first time the City of Iqaluit’s pumping operations have commenced in the spring and without the declaration of an emergency.

“We have achieved our goal of being able to pump during freshet,” said chief administrative officer Amy Elgersma during a briefing to Iqaluit city councillors on June 23.

After several summers of low water levels in Lake Geraldine, and the subsequent emergency pumping operations to make up for that, the Nunavut Water Board approved an amendment to the city’s current water licence, allowing the city to pump 500,000 cubic metres seasonally from the Apex River to Lake Geraldine until 2026 when the licence expires.

In the first 48 hours of pumping, which began on June 21, a total of 849 cubic metres of water was transported from the river to the lake.

On June 22, the city commissioned a second pump to begin operations.

The city continues to monitor water usage.

The average consumption rate for the whole city per day in June, so far, is 3,030 cubic meters, which is a reduction of roughly 3.5 per cent from the same time last year.

Pumping water earlier means that the city will likely not encounter the same situation it has over the last few years, including having to pump out of Unnamed Lake, said Elgersma.

For some, the pumping may bring other good news later in the summer.

“We hope to be able to look at putting the car-wash ban using city water on hold,” said Elgersma.

“But we’re not quite ready to make that recommendation to council yet.”

The next council meeting will be on July 14.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Can we get an update? on

    My understanding was that this was never meant to be a permanent solution. It’s been 3 years since Iqaluit first had to pump water from the Apex River, and they have 6 years remaining on their licence to pump from Apex River, so please, could we have an update on what the city has done to work towards a permanent solution?

    • Posted by Anne Crawford on

      The commentator “anytime” is absolutely correct.

      Pumping from the Apex River was never meant to be normal – it is exceptional – it is a measure from 1.5 years ago taken to sustain the City supply in an emergency while a long-term solution was to be implemented.

      What this article effectively says is that we are getting better at relying on a diminishing “emergency supply”. This is still not a good news story.

      What progress are we making towards a long term solution?

      Car washing is not the problem we are trying to solve here. As a matter of fact using treated water to wash cars never was a good use of resources. Maybe the City should instead work on optons that would respond to this “need” without drawing on a limited supply.

  2. Posted by The Native on

    So can I was my car now? Business are taking advantage of the situation and charging $40 for a car wash.

    • Posted by anytime on

      You can wash your car anytime from non city water source… Business are not taking advantage, they have invested in a business that there is a demand for. They have invested in the equipment and permits to get water from other sources and have created jobs. It is a free market system if people are willing to pay $40 they will if not the business will fail.

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