The city of Iqaluit’s Lake Geraldine Reservoir will be full by the end of September if “adequate precipitation” continues, said the city’s acting chief administrative officer, Amy Elgersma in an update to council last week.
There are 50,000 cubic metres of space remaining in the reservoir, said the Elgersma.
Maintenance repairs are anticipated to cut strain on the city’s water supply and allow the reservoir to accumulate, said Elgersma.
“It starts the winter baseline at a much lower level,” said Elgersma.
As of Sept. 11, the reservoir was 111.5 metres above sea level.
In July, Coun. Joanasie Akumalik voiced concerns that the city could be forced to impose water restrictions or rely on bottled water if the supply issue was not addressed.
“It costs to buy water from the stores. I’m scared that in the future, we might have to buy water,” said Akumalik in a July interview with Nunavut News.
He criticized the city for failing to take action on a 2014 report from architecture and engineering firm EXP which benchmarked the population capacity that the Lake Geraldine watershed could support at 8,300 people.
The city’s water supply issue will persist, said Coun. Simon Nattaq.
“We’re going to have to think of a plan for the future of our water use … water is going to be an issue over the years,” said Nattaq.
The reservoir, according to population statistics, already services more than 8,000 people.
In June, Nunavut News reported that York University assistant professor Andrew Medeiros predicted the city’s water supply could run out in a little more than five years.
Based on new development permits, the city anticipates new connections to the water system before May 19, 2019 will draw 142,000 cubic metres and connections after that date will draw 210,000 cubic metres.
Nine high priority leaks have been repaired as of Sept. 6 with the remainder expected to be completed by Sept. 14.
An engineer completed a leak investigation and will produce a report with an action plan, said Elgersma.
New developments will increase demand on the city’s water supply , according to the water demand management team.
A reverse osmosis generator set should arrive by Oct 8, said Elgersma.
The city is working on public education campaigns to reduce water consumption for households and commercial properties and has met with high water users to reduce their water demand, said Elgersma.
The city is pumping from the Apex River into the reservoir, and may consider neighbouring lakes if necessary. Drawing a supply from the Sylvia Grinnell River to supplement the reservoir could be considered, states a fact sheet from the city.
Coun. Kuthula Matsahazi asked if the city had considered changing its pricing structure to limit water use.
A different pricing plan is not part of a short-term fix for the reservoir or water management, said Romeyn Stevenson, the city’s deputy mayor.
“We need to fix the water pricing system so that it reflects the cost of water to the city. It doesn’t right now. We subsidize it, and the government subsidizes it,” he said.
Cost recovery on the city’s water supply should feed into ongoing repairs, said Stevenson.
A water rate review is on the horizon for the city, which has issued a request for proposals to conduct the review said the CAO.
With files from Michele Letourneau.