ENDERBY - Enderby residents are still being asked to keep their water usage to the absolute minimum in an effort to prevent a complete loss of water within the city.
Residents are on day four of a mandatory water conservation order caused by elevated turbidity in the Shuswap River, and compounded by a major water main break last month.
Over the weekend, the city faced an imminent loss of water and was shuttling water in via fire trucks. A state of local emergency was declared over the situation.
According to Mayor Greg McCune, residents came together over the weekend and managed to reduce usage substantially.
“The community did an amazing job,” McCune says. “They made a big dent.”
Some businesses even shut down over the weekend to reduce water use. McCune, who owns Sutherland’s, closed the ice cream shop and its washrooms.
As of Monday, May 8, residents are being asked to keep up the efforts.
“Right now we’re still asking people to keep their water usage to as little as possible because the conditions out there are very uncertain,” chief administrative officer Tate Bengtson says.
With warm weather followed by rain on the way later this week, Bengtson says conditions could become challenging with a surge of runoff.
Currently, river turbidity has subsided enough that water can make it through the filtration system, but that may not last.
“Where our risk comes from is should the river turbidity spike again, we’re going back to shuttling water. The reality is it will only work if the general public is observing the water conservation. We can’t shuttle water fast enough to keep up with normal demand,” Bengtson says.
In the meantime, the push is on to get a temporary connection installed over the Bawtree Bridge, which is also known as the Enderby Bridge, to access a well on the other side of the river. That could take another three-to-five days to complete, if all goes smoothly.
Bengtson suggests that residents write down their essential and non-essential water usage, and completely eliminate anything that isn’t absolutely required. In terms of essential needs, residents are being asked to do what they can to reduce usage, such as using bottled water for drinking and washing vegetables, flushing toilets less, taking quick showers and using small amounts of sink water to wash dishes instead of using dishwashers.
“Literally every drop makes a huge difference,” Bengtson says.
In the event of a complete loss of water, the City would have to establish a centralized distribution centre for handing out bottled water, and fire trucks would have to rely on shuttling water from the river, Bengtson says.
“We need everyone across the community to stay focussed,” he says.
A boil water advisory issued last week remains in effect.
Watch for updates on the Our Enderby Facebook page and on the City's website.
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