Ahousaht faces water crisis

Denise Titian, November 5, 2018

Ahousaht is currently without drinking water due to soil contaminants entering the community's reservoir. (Ahousaht Admin Twitter photo) 

Ahousaht, BC — 

Update: November 5, 2018, 11:35 AM

Ahousaht Administration has declared a state of emergency shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 5.

“Our water tanks have gone down to 34 per cent as of this morning (Nov. 5) and the turbidity is high so we ask that you do the following to help us conserve what water we have left,” reads the notice issued by the band administration.

People are asked to boil tap water and refrain from showering or doing laundry. Residents are advised to turn off toilet valves and used rain or salt water to flush.

The band administration is taking lists of names of elders and disabled for possible evacuation to Tofino resorts.

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Ahousaht’s administration and emergency services team have issued notices that the community is on strict water conservation measures and a boil water advisory after it was discovered that something had happened to the water reservoir.

According to a tweet issued by Ahousaht Maaqtusiis on Sunday, Nov. 4, “Ahousaht is under boil water advisory after mystery soil contaminants entered village reservoir early today or late last night.”

In a Facebook message issued to the community, Ahousaht Emergency Services Coordinator Michael Swan stated further that water levels in the holding tanks were dangerously low. There is not enough water to handle emergencies like a house fire.

“We are still losing 2,000 litres of water an hour; that amounts to one per cent an hour,” said Swan in a Facebook post. “We need your guys’ help [to] preserve our water.”

It is not clear what has caused the loss of water. Ahousaht leadership are meeting to determine their next steps.

Swan has confirmed for Ha-Shilth-Sa that they have contacted an engineer and are awaiting a report.

In the meantime, the schools have been closed and people are being asked to conserve water as much as possible.

People are collecting rain water and using swimming pool water to flush toilets. Some are ordering drinking water from grocers in Tofino.