A specialized crew from Vernon armed with some significant technology joined the Williams Lake Indian Band to help pinpoint a leak within the band’s water system.
The crew arrived to assist the band Tuesday with a correlator to determine leaks from valve to valve.
While testing will continue into Wednesday, chief administrative officer Aaron Mannella says they received some great news and determined that the issue is not related to the lines that go from the reservoir across Highway 97.
“So there was suspicion that that would be the case and fortunately that has proven to not be the case, so it’s a little bit of an easier prospect of finding the leak now,” he says. “It’s likely somewhere in the community and somewhere in the infrastructure that we have; from home to home or through some main water lines.”
Mannella says they found a way through the support of some local water haulers to be able to top off their system, and despite the leakage continue to offer some limited water supply.
Since the leak was discovered Sunday morning, Mannella says they were losing as much as 12 liters of water per second.
“With the way that the water table itself is, it doesn’t necessarily surface to the top and so it’s really critical that we go through these water tests to determine exactly where it is so that we can excavate if necessary and then make the necessary repairs to infrastructure.”
A variety of agencies such as Services Canada and Emergency Management B.C. are involved in monitoring the situation according to Mannella.
“Ultimately infrastructure on reserve through the Indian Act does play some responsibly on the federal government through Indigenous Services Canada,” he says. “So certainly if there are any significant outcomes in our findings then we’ll be certainly reporting that back to our colleagues at Indigenous Services Canada.”
Despite the challenges, Mannella adds he is excited about how the community has rallied together.
“We’ve had tremendous support from our staff who have worked around the clock to provide water, supplies, and delivery to community members. We have a great progressive Council and Chief in Chief Willie Sellars so we’ve had support from the elected official level, and the community at large,” he added. “I look to the Cariboo Regional District and the City of Williams Lake in the support that they’ve provided in making shower facilities available, and industry partners like Triple P Sanitation and Gordon’s HydroVac in providing water services along with the circuit rider and other skilled technicians that we have working on this situation.”
Approximately 300 individuals live in the community of Sugar Cane that has between 100 to 120 homes along with other infrastructure including a school and daycare.