Many smaller communities rely solely on water trucks to deliver clean water to home. So when the trucks break down, it becomes a headache and even a crisis.
That was the case for Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, in northern Quebec, where recently, all three water trucks broke down and were in disrepair for almost three weeks.
“It was a difficult thing because all the water trucks were broken plus all the parts were being backordered from the company we ordered parts from,” said Mayor David Annanack, adding that COVID-19 was also causing an issue at the factories where they get parts.
But, with the help of some pick up trucks, Annanack said the community — with a population a little over 1,000 and about 300 houses that need water delivery — was able to manage.
“It was very slow but we managed to give some houses some water,” he said.
The community normally has two water trucks in operation, and three altogether, he said. The trucks for water and sewage run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Eventually, they break down,” he said.
To keep the water flowing, he said people with pickup trucks began collecting water from the local reservoir and hauling water to peoples’ homes “by themselves,” with the help of a water pump.
“It’s a very tiring job,” he said.
While the water trucks are now fixed, Annanack said he’d like for the community to receive water and sewage trucks that are made for northern communities, and for there to be spare trucks available in communities that rely on them.
“When we are in a very isolated place, during winter especially, there’s no way to get a new water truck,” he said.