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Barachois Brook is struggling with a water outage, and some residents want a state of emergency called

A beautoful moonlit Christmas night in Barachois Brook. (Submitted by Erik McLean - image credit)
A beautoful moonlit Christmas night in Barachois Brook. (Submitted by Erik McLean - image credit)
A beautoful moonlit Christmas night in Barachois Brook.
A beautoful moonlit Christmas night in Barachois Brook.

Half of Barachois Brook has been without running water for over a week. (Submitted by Erik McLean)

Parts of the local service district of Barachois Brook have been without running water for more than a week and some residents of the community, on Newfoundland's west coast, are calling for the declaration of a state of emergency.

Tiffany Parsons told CBC News a letter from the district, distributed throughout the community last week, said a new water line needed to be installed and rerouted.

"They said we will be experiencing low pressure, but that is basically a dribble — and we've lost that since. So we don't have any water right now," she said.

Parsons said it's her understanding work is being held up because the district needs quotes from contractors as well as completed paperwork from the owners of two properties through which the line would be rerouted — and those property owners are out of the province.

Parsons, along with her non-profit organization People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre and the local fire department, helped fill dozens of 20-litre buckets and delivered them to the area's community centre so residents could have water to flush their toilets and wash their dishes.

Barachois Brook has a large senior community,  many of whom can't get water themselves and need it delivered, she said. Kids are also missing school because of the outage.

"We definitely need a state of emergency. We can't keep doing this on our own. It was just me and my little brother yesterday, trying to do it for everyone," she said.

"We got 100 cases of 24 bottles of water donated from Walmart and Dominion. We delivered all of those Wednesday."

Cases of water were donated by Walmart and Dominion and delivered to the Barachois Brook community centre.
Cases of water were donated by Walmart and Dominion and delivered to the Barachois Brook community centre.

Cases of water have been donated by Walmart and Dominion and delivered to the Barachois Brook community centre. (Tiffany Parsons/Facebook)

Gerard Lee, chair of the local service district, praised Parsons for being proactive in the situation but doesn't agree a state of emergency should be called. He said neighbouring communities are already offering help.

"In Barachois Brook, there's roughly close to half of the community that has no water whatsoever right now. The community centre has been set up with water that has been delivered and everyone in that community that's really been affected by this has access to this water in order to come get it themselves or delivered to seniors," he said.

"The Town of Saint George's, they deliver fire protection for the community."

Lee said half the community has running water but low water pressure. The other has no water at all because of a break in the water main.

Listen to the full interview with CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning:

He said it's difficult to access in order to repair it and the fix is expensive.

"We can put machinery in there to try and fix the problem but it's just costing too much money and we can't really do anything with it and the time of the year is certainly not helping," he said.

Lee said permission has been granted by the property owners to reroute the water line and special assistance funding is in place with the provincial government.

"The wheels are rolling on that and in fact even municipal affairs is trying to find the type of water line we need to go another 500 or 600 feet to fix this problem. It may not even be in the province but they're doing their best to try and find it also," he said.

"Even though it's the middle of winter, we have to try and get this done."

Lee said repairs could take up to a week. Waiting for the materials and good weather is the only holdup, he said.

In a statement to CBC News on Friday, Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs spokesperson Michelle Hunt-Grouchy said the department has been in contact with Barachois Brook committee representatives about the leak in the main waterline.

Hunt-Grouchy said the leak affects about 120 residents.

"The committee has advised they are actively aiding impacted residents, including the establishment of a water station in the community to provide bottled water to residents," reads the statement.

"The committee has indicated that they are in contact with other provincial government departments as well, including the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, to determine next steps."

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