Donations of bottled water are pouring into Piapot First Nation following a fire that destroyed the water treatment facility and left the entire community without a water supply.
Ira Lavallee is an elected band councillor for Piapot First Nation and spoke with 980 CJME Wednesday. He said the First Nation declared a state of emergency following the fire.
Plans to restore the water service to all of the main buildings including the school and 17 homes are well underway and changing hourly.
He said many people and groups from the area are providing safe drinking water.
“We’ve had a lot of good-hearted people and organizations reach out to us to donate a bottles or a jug of water,” Lavallee said.
The Piapot community hall has been set up as a distribution centre for anybody who needs access to drinking water.
A representative from the provincial emergency management and disaster response team is also in the community helping to coordinate the initial response plan.
Lavallee said they were initially anticipating not having water service for weeks, but now the taps could be turning back on very quickly with a temporary solution
“We have a tanker truck coming and right now they’re working on connecting the tanker truck to the existing water system to try to reactivate it,” he explained.
“If things go well we should have water back in the system through the tanker truck, hopefully by this evening or by tomorrow,” Lavellee explained.
He said Indigenous Services Canada has made a commitment to do whatever it takes to provide access to drinking water for Piapot. They are in talks to potentially bring in a mobile water treatment service as a longer-term solution for the coming months.
A meeting is already scheduled with engineers on Thursday to discuss options to build a permanent replacement water treatment facility for Piapot.