WINNIPEG – The Serfas family has been without water for seven days, and on Thursday, they received a gift they won’t soon forget.
Three 20-litre jugs of water, courtesy of Winnipeg’s fire department.
“It felt really good and they were so friendly and so considerate, it made me feel good,” Audrey Serfas told Global News.
They’re among the hundreds in the city without water, but one of the first to have water delivered to their home.
Story continues below
More than 700 properties in Winnipeg have no running water because pipes are freezing and the city is unable to thaw them as quickly as new ones freeze.
City officials said it’s all hands on deck.
“We’re viewing this as a city emergency,” said Diane Sacher, Manager of Water Services. “Not just a department emergency — we’re applying all resources that are available.”
As of Thursday, Winnipeg’s bravest are stretching their resources to become the city’s newest water lifeline.
About a dozen fire halls will be turned into watering stations where empty jugs can be refilled. Residents unable to leave their homes can have water brought to their doors.
“When we’re in a situation like this, we’re in an anomaly,” said Bill Clark, acting chief of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service. “It’s a weather-related event and it’s a situation we will engage in the community to enhance the comfort level and livability.”
Earlier this week, the city said it would install hoses between houses without water and neighbouring properties as an interim solution — but only 89 homes have had them installed so far. City officials said those who want a hose installation can have it done the day it’s requested.
“If your water line is frozen and you contact us right away, we can get you water service almost immediately as long as you have a co-operative neighbour,” said Mayor Sam Katz.
As the backlog of frozen pipes grows, and with the frost more than 1.5 metres deep, some Winnipeggers fear they’ll be forced to live with these conditions into the summer.