PORT AU CHOIX — Port au Choix Mayor Carolyn Lavers says there hasn't been a state of emergency officially called yet, but in her mind there could be.
Over two weeks ago, town officials sounded the alarm about the Northern Peninsula town's water supplies running dangerously low when they gave a two-week warning about the possibility of running out.
"We got a bit of rain yesterday, which gives us a bit of a reprieve," Lavers said. "But we're still struggling, we'll be months getting those water levels back up to normal — and that's if we get an incredible amount of rain this fall."
Despite the best conservation efforts of town residents and help from the province in figuring out the problem, Lavers said they are still experiencing extremely low water levels in the artesian wells and a nearby pond.
The town has been working with representatives from the departments of Environment and Conservation, and Municipal Affairs, but Lavers said they're finding what residents of Port au Choix already knew; there is no simple solution in spite of several nearby ponds.
Those ponds are too small to be used and would dry up within days if connected. The nearest water source, Lavers said, would be Tom Taylor's Pond, which technically lies within the boundaries of Port Saunders, just over five kilometres away.
"We just received an email (from the Department of Environment and Conservation) telling us that the only thing they could come up with is two and a half kilometres of pipe and a motorized pump," Lavers said. "That's only halfway, we had hoped to come up with an immediate solution, and then go for a more permanent fix because we need an alternate source of fresh water."
She said Port au Choix residents are doing what they can to help. Water use has actually gone down since the initial warning was issued earlier this month. The town's fish plant has also managed to cut down on its water use by shutting down some of its equipment and switching to salt water in other areas. But that's not permanent, as salt water tends to cause metal parts to corrode.