Kivalina Faces Potential Water Shortage

Freezing Temperatures Prevent Water Storage Tanks From Being Filled

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by Mike Ford

KIVALINA -- Freezing temperatures, Tuesday, prompted officials in the village of Kivalina to pull transfer lines from the Wulluk River before the village's water tanks were full.

Now some in Kivalina worry there will be a water shortage this winter, and that residents will be forced to melt snow and ice to get by.

The primary water source for Kivalina is two miles up river from the mouth of the Wulluk River, which typically stays frozen seven months out of the year.

The ice melts starting May or June, but due to the high silt content right after break-up, the community waits until July to start pumping water into a 692 gallon raw water storage tank, which is then filtered through a small water treatment plant. After the water is treated, it is pumped to a 500 gallon treated water storage tank.

Kivalina has no community piped water distribution system. The only buildings with piped water are the washateria, the school and the clinic.

Residents of Kivalina practice water conservation every year, but typically not until February.

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alaskaguy said on Wednesday, Oct 10 at 7:48 AM

Im pretty sure it was meant in thousands of gallons. Ive been to Kivalina and know many people there. Amazing hospitality and people. People there have been surviving for generations and thriving. Know that this is a hinderance to them and not a disaster. GOD bless them

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