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UPDATED: Howley declares state of emergency as water supply has run dry

George Stone, an on-call maintenance worker for the Town of Howley, works on the town's water distribution system Monday morning
George Stone, an on-call maintenance worker for the Town of Howley, works on the town's water distribution system Monday morning - Submitted

The Town of Howley has declared a state of emergency due to a water shortage.

The declaration was made after an emergency town council meeting Monday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, town officials were trying to get to the bottom of why the municipality’s water supply had run dry.

An alarm went off Sunday night, indicating there was an issue with the water storage facility fed by Grand Lake.

Upon investigation, it was discovered there was hardly a drop left in the storage tanks and the system’s pumps were running feverishly hot trying to get more water from the lake.

The distribution system had to be turned off, leaving the town’s folks with no water to drink, wash or flush toilets.

Monday morning, town officials were troubleshooting the system. Mayor Wayne Bennett said the first thing to be done was to put some water into the tanks and pump it back out to see if there is a blockage in the lines that could be flushed out.

Other possible causes might be the low water levels in the lake have left the intake pipe short of reaching enough water to pump into the system or ice concentrations have currently made water inaccessible to the pipes.

“Who would have thought a town on the side of a 70-mile long lake would run out of water,” said Bennett.

Bennett said the town had a limited supply of bottled water for residents but a shipment was en route Monday morning. Mike Kelly and Sons, a contractor based in Howley, was going around to homes with the water truck normally used for road paving projects, filling water buckets for residents so they could have water to flush toilets.

“It’s great to have a company like that in this town right now,” said the mayor.

***This story was edited at 2:58 p.m. to reflect the decision made at Monday afternoon’s town council meeting.

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