A boil water advisory and a water restriction warning were put in effect in Alma, N.B., on Thursday after the village’s reservoir reached a critically low level.
Boil orders have plagued Alma during the summer months when thousands of tourists flock to the village. Pre-pandemic, roughly 300,000 people visited nearby Fundy National Park every year.
Joel Cadieux, the owner of An Octopus’ Garden Cafe, said people have returned in droves this summer.
“After the two years we’ve had of course with COVID and everything, these are the times we’ve waited for and they’ve come, but once again we’re having water issues and at this point it would be nice if they could be dealt with and move on,” said Cadieux.
Alma mayor Andrew Casey told CTV News the village is simply distributing more water than its producing and he’s urging everyone to conserve at all costs.
“Last night, we were at less than a metre of water – that’s the equivalent of putting a straw in a puddle – we can’t risk getting to that point again,” said Andrew.
The mayor also said it is possible businesses could close at some point.
That could cost restaurant owners $8,000 to $10,000 a day, according to Cadieux.
“Here on the weekends, that’s a lot of lost revenue for a lot of people in this village,” he said. “It effects a lot of people, so we’re hoping that doesn’t happen. If everybody does their best to conserve the water, maybe we can get through it.”
In 2019, the provincial and federal governments announced close to $400,000 in funding to improve water services in the village, but a secondary source has yet to be found.
Mayor Casey said the search for a second source is continuing.
Marc Casey co-owns the Parkland Village Inn and Tides Restaurant with his brother Andrew. He said the village is still open for business, and tourists shouldn’t be deterred from coming despite the boil water advisory.
“It’s just one of those things we have to deal with. It’s a small town, there’s only 200 or 300 people here, full-time residents. With thousands of tourists coming through every day, it’s just more than the system can handle. It is frustrating, but it’s one of the things we have to deal with,” said Marc.
The mayor said a contingency plan from the village could see water brought in by trucks from another municipality, possibly the city of Moncton.
On its website and Facebook page, the village said the boil advisory and the water restriction notices will be in effect until further notice. The village is asking anyone, residents or visitors, to restrict their use of water in any way they can.
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