The summer of 2016 was particularly troublesome with more residents than normal experiencing well water shortages. We depend on water for all aspects of life and declining water tables and prolonged droughts are shrinking our supply.
In the more populated areas of West Hants, the Municipality provides safe potable water to residents through its three water utilities. In the rural areas of West Hants, where is it too expensive for the Municipality to obtain, treat and distribute water, residents get their water from a variety of sources such as dug or drilled wells and cistern systems located on their property which are directly impacted by the amount of snow and rain that falls each season.
Commercial Water Haulers
Residents on their own water systems who are experiencing issues with water quality and/or shortages can contact commercial water haulers to fill their wells and cisterns.
The water hauling station located at 76 Morison Drive gets its treated water from the Three Mile Plains Water Utility which buys its water from the Town of Windsor Water Utility at bulk prices. The Municipality charges $7.50 per 600 gallons of water drawn then each commercial hauler sets their own fee to deliver the water. Therefore, if there is a problem with the water supply in the Town of Windsor, bulk water customers as well as water customers in Three Mile Plains are affected.
Water haulers should always get their water from treated water sources if it is to be used for household use. Water should never be hauled from an untreated water supply, lake or river, as this water would not be treated nor tested, and would potentially contaminate the truck tank. Water taken from the Three Mile Plains Water Hauling station is both treated to the standards set by Nova Scotia Environment and tested regularly.
Commercial water haulers have an obligation to ensure the safety of the water you receive, regardless of the source, is safe for you and your family to use. Residents should ask their commercial hauler where they get the water to protect their family’s health. Guidelines, created by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, explain the steps your commercial hauler should be taking with their respect to their equipment, storage, disinfection, testing and record keeping. Guidelines can be seen here:
Recommended Guidelines for Commercial Water Haulers
(796 KB) You and your family’s drinking water is better protected if a hauler follows the guidelines.
The following is a list of water haulers in the area, more can be found on-line or in the yellow pages by searching Commercial Water Haulers.
Increasing Water Capacity
Residents can choose to increase their household water capacity by installing a cistern system or secondary storage, deepening or modifying existing wells or by digging or drilling a new well. It is important to always get qualified professional advice prior to making any changes.
Information about well construction as well as a list of well contractors can be found on the Nova Scotia Environment website
A cistern is a large storage tank for holding water. Cisterns may be used as a household water supply in areas with low well capacity install a secondary water storage tank. NSF International is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that sets health and safety standards for manufacturers in 80 countries. Check out their website for more information.
When a cistern is proposed for a new or existing building or home, it should be indicated on the design drawing and brought to the attention of the municipality on any permit application. The Planning and Development Department can be reached at 902-798-6900.
For more information contact Nova Scotia Environment at 1-877-936-8476 or visit their website.
Temporary Help for Shortage
The Joint Regional Emergency Management Office (REMO) works closely with the Provincial Emergency Management Office, water utilities and municipal/town departments to locate accessible buildings for drinking water and facilities for showering on an urgent basis.
The Municipality is currently identifying public and private facilities which may be suitable. Each location will have to be assessed for accessibility, water quality and quantity and available supervision.
In some locations, the Municipality may provide bottled drinking water for pick up only by residents in the local area in times of severe water shortages. Water will be distributed using the Red Cross guidelines of at least 2L per person per day.
Water conservation should not be something that we think about only during times of shortages but daily. Seeing as all of us depend on water, it is our responsibility to learn more about water conservation and make it a part our lives.
There are so many resources available about water conservation which allow us to do all the same things as we did before only with less water. With a few habit changes, and some water conservation devices such as low flow shower heads an average family of four can reduce their water consumption by over 20,000 gallons! A personal water use log can help you discover how much water you use and ways you can reduce your use like this one from Nova Scotia Department of Environment.
Remember – doing something small can have a great impact on our environment and your wallet.