Some residents in Edzo turned on their taps to find brown water this weekend, while others did not have any running water. It’s the latest symptom of longstanding issues with the infrastructure that brings water to the community.
In a post on it’s website on Friday, the Tłı̨chǫ government advised people living in Edzo that the water plant was experiencing “technical difficulties.” It said those on the piped water system should try to conserve water.
Jane Weyallon Armstrong, the MLA for Monfwi, told Cabin Radio the water plant and buried pipe system are ageing and need to be replaced. She said problems have been repeatedly fixed over the years, comparing it to someone having bypass surgery on their heart.
“We’re at a point where we can’t fix it anymore,” she said.
“It’s had so many bypasses, blood work done to it, pretty soon it’s going to have a heart attack.”
Weyallon Armstrong said the health centre, school, government building and seniors home in Behchokǫ̀, along with private residences, are all connected to the water system. Before Christmas, she said a government building had to be shut down for about a week.
“This is a serious issue and serious health concern for our community residents.”
The MLA said she recently raised the issue with Shane Thompson, the territorial minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, saying it needs to be addressed immediately and included in the territory’s capital plan.
“They have to do something,” she said. “They have to work with the community government to fix that problem.”
Weyallon Armstrong added many NWT communities have ageing infrastructure that needs attention from the territorial government.
According to CBC, Behchokǫ̀ Chief Clifford Daniels expects the immediate water issues in Edzo to be resolved by the end of Monday.
Cabin Radio reached out to the Behchokǫ̀ community government for comment.
This is not the first time that problems with running water have been reported in Behchokǫ̀ this month.
Kelsey Mantla told Cabin Radio that she and some other residents in Edzo went without running water for two weeks earlier in January. She said she was particularly concerned as she has young children, adding it’s difficult to follow public health advice to wash your hands and disinfect surfaces without running water.
“Water is life,” she said in a Facebook message to Cabin Radio. “We need that for so many reasons in order to be able to live comfortable, being able to have clean clothes behind our backs.”
Mantla said after her water was running again, the pipes in her home froze and water began overflowing in her bathtub and toilet. She is now hoping to find a safe place to stay that has running water.