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SWAN RIVER, MB: VOLUNTEERS AND PUBLIC WORKERS HUSTLING TO COMBAT WATER SHORTAGE IN MANTIBA TOWN
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Public works employees in Swan River, Manitoba are raring to get started on infrastructure repairs to two of the town's wells after their malfunction lead to an emergency water shortage this past weekend.
Workers at Swan River's water treatment plant noticed the issue on Saturday night, and officials were working hard to figure out where the problem was until late Monday.
"We have three wells and there are two wells where we have multiple issues with them," said deputy mayor Lance Jacobson, "It's not just valves. There some pump and motor issues with them as well."
After establishing the problem that was affecting the town of almost 4,000 residents, it has been up to public works to begin to source all the necessary parts for the repairs. According to Jacobson, many of the parts have to come from all over North America, with only a few of the necessary pieces sitting in Winnipeg, which is still a five hour drive south east of the town.
While some parts and the rig equipment needed to do the repairs is starting to trickle in, town officials are still holding back on providing a timeline for affected residents and business owners.
"It's not fair to the public to create false hope," said Jacobson, "We do have a system that's working but it is receiving minimal water."
While the town has safe levels in their reservoir, they are still asking users to continue strict water restriction and conservation practices. This includes refraining from baths, showers, doing laundry or using dishwashers as all these activities involve significant water consumption that depletes water reserves.
Emergency distribution of bottled water and bulk potable water is available at the Swan Valley Regional Secondary School's new trades building daily from 8am to 10pm at no cost.
Users are asked to bring their own clean containers for bulk water and the town is actively encouraging everyone to recycle all empty water bottles.
Toni Hayes, a first aid instructor in town, is one of the volunteers helping with the distribution.
"People just need to drive up and the volunteers grab the water and put it in their vehicle for them," she said," We've got people out there, so they don't have to get out of their vehicles, they can stay in their nice warm car and we just pop it in for them. It was cold the last few days but I got my long underwear on, so I'm good!"
Hayes said that a van is also on hand to deliver water to the elderly or those who are unable to make it to the distribution centre.
The water is being paid for by the municipality and provided by nearby retailers, said Jacobson.
Public services are being run carefully as well. The town has closed its public arena as well as the aquatic centre and schools have been closed all week so far as well. The hospital has remained open however, and according to Jacobson, have a good disaster relief plan in place.
Both Jacobson and Hayes are praising all the volunteers that have come together to help the town get through the ordeal.
"Besides the volunteers, we have a really good group of public works employees that have been working in the treatment facility and at the pump site in -25 to -31 degrees. They have a huge responsibility and they know what they have on their shoulders," said Jacobson.
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