Unalakleet’s water supply was running empty following a bad frost at the end of December. As the community unites to conserve water, it is hoped that recent federal government funding will help Unalakleet alleviate future water problems.
“We had effects from December 26 storm that cut off our water supply to our source, Powers Creek, ”said Unalakleet City Manager Moe Zamarron.
Freezing rain led to a pool of frozen standing water that relocated the community’s pumping station ahead of the New Year, Zamarron said. This caused the water flow to the water tank to drop and the levels had dropped to two feet earlier in the first week of January.
The city’s water tank is about 28 feet full of water, according to Zamarron. It didn’t hit a vacuum this time, but it had fallen to about 7% of its full capacity.
“It took a lot of effort from the local community to conserve,” Zamarron explained. “And thanks to their efforts, we were able to reserve enough water from our storage tank to make it happen. And it was a community effort to get everyone to come together and make sure that we could take that turn and start the increased flow again and start replenishing our reserves. “
As of yesterday, the community has started to put more water back into the storage tank, Zamarron said. But repairs and resolution of the current water issues are underway.
Unalakleet has had problems with its water supply system in the past, with recurring shortages almost every year, contamination issues or freezing pipes at the water tank.
Fortunately, these types of problems with Unalakleet’s water system can be alleviated in the future.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, recently awarded the indigenous village of Unalakleet more than $ 650,000 to develop a water transport system. The funds came from a series of block grants from the Indian community in 2021 as part of the US bailout.
Unalakleet Indigenous Village Executive Director Tracy Cooper could not be reached for comment before this story aired. But according to HUD, this new system will provide the community with better access to treated drinking water, without having to rely solely on the water tank and Powers Creek.
In the meantime, as usually happens in times of conflict, the people of Unalakleet have come together to conserve water, share their subsistence foods, and support each other to avert a larger disaster.
The Unalakleet school announced via social networks that it was in remote delivery today due to the “current water situation in the city”.