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    Posted March 24, 2014 by
    weshazlitt
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Wintry weather 2014

    No End In Sight for 1350 Winnipeg Property Owners Without Running Water

     
    Winnipeggers awoke this morning to another chilly day today with the temperature at -18C and snow in the forecast for Wednesday.

    The coldest winter in 35 years, and 3rd coldest in more than a century, has also included an unusually large dump of snow that has seen no melt days since early November.

    Besides the wicked potholes that are coming out as the frost leaves the pavement, thousands of Winnipeg properties have been left without running water or are at risk of losing service due to frozen pipes brought on by the unusually cold winter.

    Doug Mackie, a 73 year old senior has been doing his dishes at the Woodhaven Community Club, across the street from his home since February 26, 2014. His water pipes were thawed by city crews on Sunday, while neighbours that had taken advantage of temporary hookups to adjacent properties were left connected by garden hoses. “It was not so bad says Mackie, it was kind of fun as it gave me something to blog about in daily emails to my six children 1 in Saskatoon,2 in Vancouver and 3 in Winnipeg by email about to my six children every day Saskatoon, Vancouver and Winnipeg, now I have nothing to write them about. For me it was a pain in the butt and a bit of a challenge, but I made it work,”

    It’s also been hard on business owners that have had to close due to frozen pipes; the most recent one was a Pet Store on Regent that has been without water since February 20th. City crews had tried previously to thaw her line but were unsuccessful. This has resulted in a loss of business and some of the fish and reptiles in her location have died. Store owner, Tanya Morgan says “ I’m not sure if I’m staying open as I’ve lost my groomer and a lot of my customer base.”

    With frost in the ground approaching 8 feet deep, it could be months before some properties get their water service back. As of today, there are 1350 properties without water and 6300 more at risk, this in spite of the fact that the City has successfully thawed 800 properties since the problem began.

    There have also been a lot of frustrated residents turning to local contractors for help with varying degrees of success. One local firm, Tractus Projects, joined forces with a local plumber to create a rig using a pressure washer and a few hundred dollar’s worth of airbrake hose, valves and other accessories purchased from a big box store. Tractus’ owner, Jaret Horbatiuk, says “We’ve successfully thawed 3 homes and failed on another; we’d like to talk to the city to show them what we are doing and see if we can work together with other firms and the City of Winnipeg crews to help the residents get back to normal.”

    The city for its part continues to hook up temporary lines between adjacent homes. Currently there are 800 properties getting their water in this manner, while 1350 others must melt snow and pick up jugs of water at community resource centres.

    Temperatures are expected to reach daytime highs above freezing by the weekend, but the long range outlook continues to be colder than normal.

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