The Arctic Institute’s Center for Circumpolar Security Studies has published a report that analyses the recurring water crises in the Canadian city of Iqaluit. It concludes that that the increased frequency of these episodes is due to the Arctic’s harsh climate which is becoming more extreme due to climate change.
The city, capital of the Canadian Nunavut territory, has had several water crises recently, from fuel contaminations of water reserves to the freezing of water pipes. The study says: “The freezing of the pipes was directly caused by climate change, the effects of which are much more apparent in polar regions.”
A combination of low levels of precipitation, a growing population and a frail infrastructure have caused these episodes and, in recent years, Lake Geraldine, the city’s potable water reservoir has registered historic low levels.
The people of Iqaluit have recently endured months without potable tap water and have had to resort to drilling holes in Lake Geraldine to fetch water in temperatures as low as -40C.
Water crises occurring every year since 2019 have put healthcare services at risk and have forced small businesses to close down as they find themselves unable to use tap water and incapable of affording bottled water.
Residents are losing confidence in public bodies as long term solutions have not been forthcoming. The region is going through a housing shortage, some of which has been attributed to municipality's inability to provide water and renew the existing infrastructure. No new buildings are allowed to be built at the moment.