Due to potential gasoline contamination, the capital of Canada‘s Arctic region has ordered its 7,000 people not to drink the city’s water.
Iqaluit, the capital of Canada’s northernmost territory, Nunavut, which borders Greenland, issued a state of emergency on Tuesday night, ordering inhabitants to refrain from drinking or cooking with city water.
Over the weekend, residents reported smelling fuel in the water, but the source was unknown. Even after boiling, the water would be unsafe, according to the city.
At a water treatment plant, investigators discovered possible hydrocarbon contamination. Samples shipped outside the region were due back in five business days for analysis.
Some inhabitants in Iqaluit have access to piped water, while others must rely on truck deliveries. The city is supplying purified water by truck during the water emergency, but the water should still be boiled for at least one minute, according to the city. Other inhabitants in Iqaluit might get water in jugs at a pickup station.
Despite the fact that Canada contains 20% of the world’s fresh water, 45 indigenous communities across the country are currently under boil-water advisories. The indigenous population of Nunavut is 86 percent.
According to the Canadian Poverty Institute, indigenous people in Canada have the highest poverty rates in the country, with 25 percent projected to be poor.
Water is a touchy subject for Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who campaigned on a promise to stop all boil-water advisories within five years when he was first elected in 2015.
Due to high shipping costs, groceries, particularly bottled water, are exceedingly expensive in Canada’s north.
Due to water infrastructure repairs, Iqaluit has been under two boil-water advisories since August.