Alaska Villages Cope With Treated-Water Shortages

Two Native villages on Alaska’s western coast are coping with shortages of treated water brought on by failures of their supply transmission pipelines.

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Unalakleet, a largely Inupiat Eskimo community, lost use of its main pipeline when it froze a month ago and developed leaks.

Almost 300 miles to the north, Kivalina has imposed strict conservation measures all winter after its pipeline was damaged by late summer storms before the Inupiat community’s water tanks could be filled completely.

Unalakleet city manager Scott Dickens says the pipeline has been cleared and patched up. He says the village is now waiting for state regulators to clear samples of treated water as safe to drink.

Kivalina city manager Janet Mitchell says the village barely has enough water to last until tanks can be filled.