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Low water supply causes Alaska borough emergency declaration

September 3, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Low water supplies in two Alaska communities have resulted in an emergency declaration by area officials, a report said.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough issued a local disaster declaration Thursday, The Anchorage Daily News reported .

The declaration came after sparse rainfall during this year’s warm, dry summer rapidly depleted public water supplies in the city of Seldovia and the village of Nanwalek.

The emergency declaration initiates a request for the state to help keep the communities supplied with water. Both communities have shipped in pallets of water jugs and asked residents to limit water use, officials said.

Nanwalek, located southwest of Seldovia near the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, has had to shut off nighttime water service to more than 300 residents due to the low level of the dam that feeds the village system, said maintenance and utilities manager Jerry Demas.

Nanwalek will need three to five days of heavy rainfall to build up its water supply, Demas said.

On Friday, he wrote in an email, “We are finally getting some showers.”

The National Weather Service reported that Seldovia recorded 1.25 inches (3.18 centimeters) of rain between June 1 and Aug. 29, which is about 5 inches (13 centimeters) below normal.

Located across Kachemak Bay from Homer, Seldovia’s year-round population of about 230 people uses water piped from a reservoir. The reservoir has not had enough rain or snow melt to replenish its water levels, said City Manager Cassidi Cameron.

“It’s like a bank account, and you’re spending your bank account down and you don’t have any income coming in,” Cameron said.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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