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30th January 2018
State of emergency declared in Swan River over dwindling water supply

Water is not getting from the well to treatment plant, but no one knows why, deputy mayor says

By Cameron MacLean, CBC News Posted: Jan 28, 2018 9:26 AM CT Last Updated: Jan 28, 2018 10:44 AM CT

A state of emergency has been declared in Swan River, Man., as the town's water supply has almost run out and officials don't know what the problem is.

The town's nearly 4,000 residents have been told to cut back their water use after public works staff discovered that water from the well was not getting to the town's treatment plant.

Officials say the water is currently safe to drink, but the town expects to issue a boil water advisory later today.

"What we have reached now is the point of critical situation where we are running out of water, and until that problem is resolved, we're asking residents to conserve, if not try to completely stop using water until we can find the problem," said the town's Deputy Mayor Lance Jacobson.

A notice posted on the town's website says "a total loss of water throughout the town is imminent" due to a major break in its pumping and distribution system.

The well, which is about one and a half kilometres from the treatment plant, is connected by a 20-centimetre pipe running underground. It's unknown whether the problem is with the well, or somewhere in between, Jacobson said.

The town is waiting on outside professionals to come in to figure out what the problem is.

"This is something that we've never encountered," Jacobson said.

In the meantime, Jacobson said the Red Cross has been informed, and surrounding communities have potable water that can be brought in.

The town has also reached out to businesses to ask them to order in as much bottled water as possible.

The town will have an update at 10 a.m. with information on where residents can get water.

CBC News has reached out to provincial government officials for information on what is being done to help the town.

Swan River is about 380 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.