Colin Light infront of the new water tank. (Photo supplied)

Colin Light infront of the new water tank. (Photo supplied)

New water system will end interruptions in Kitamaat Village

"The system was designed for future supply for generations to come." - Colin Light

Water supply disruptions should be a thing of the past for Kitamaat Village residents when a $4 million project to upgrade the village’s water system is completed at the end of July.

Haisla Nation Council Clerk of the Works Colin Light said apart from minor teething problems once the new system is activated, residents and workers in the village shouldn’t notice a difference in their home or office water supplies.

Work on the project included installing new water supply lines coming into the community and sinking a third wellhead next to the HNC administration building.

“The system was designed for future supply for generations to come,” said Light. “We planned for growth.”

He said that growth includes planning for more people and more demand for water on reserve and on nearby lots, should they be developed.

“In the future, we could run the water up the hill and over to lots 305 and 306,” said Light, referring to two lots of property south of the village which were purchased by the Haisla from Rio Tinto Alcan in 2016.

Lots 305 and 306 form part of an Addition to Reserve application currently being considered by Ottawa, which will see the Haisla Nation reserve nearly double in size.

READ MORE: Haisla Nation eyes neighbouring land for expansion

Light added that the capacity of the system is significantly greater than the older one.

“As water will be flowing downhill from the new reservoir, however, there is the potential for increased water pressure.”

HNC Public Works will, therefore, be installing pressure-reducing valves in all the residences on the reserve over the next few months.

Light said discussions around the need for upgrades to the water system began in 2015 following ongoing water interruptions in the village.

“We’ve been dealing with ageing infrastructure for a long time. We’ve had several breaks in our supply line and burst pipes,” said Light.

The current water system dates back to the late 1960s, with a few upgrades in the 1980s as the number of residents in the village increased and a new subdivision was added.

The current system works by pumping water from the aquifer up to the reservoirs. Gravity feed is then used to distribute water to the community.

“With the infrastructure ageing we have been experiencing broken and crumbling piping that required several repairs,” said Light. “Better materials and updated automation will not only lengthen the system’s lifespan but will also deliver consistent pressure throughout.”

READ MORE: Drought concerns for Kitamaat Village as river levels drop

The new tank will hold 185,831 U.S. gallons, compared to the combined capacity of the two existing reservoirs which only have a maximum holding capacity of close to 100,000 U.S. gallons combined.

Light said the project had not only ensured a reliable stream of clean water for generations to come in Kitamaat Village, but also resulted in two full-time positions created by the project’s prime contractor Daudet Creek Contracting.

The contractor also used HNC’s Public Work’s dump truck and excavator with operators at different stages of the build, which was funded by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).

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Kitimat Northern Sentinel