For the residents of Tuluksak, breakup means that they will once again be losing their source of running water.
After Tuluksak lost its water plant to a fire, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation installed a temporary water treatment plant in the school. The plant pipes up water from the Tuluksak River, but that system is too fragile to withstand the ice floes released during breakup.
YKHC workers will remove the temporary plant from the river for the time being, and reinstall it when the river ice is gone. In the meantime, the community has several large water tanks that they can fill up to store water.
The Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has said it will supply the village with bottled drinking water from now until a larger temporary water treatment plant can be barged up and installed. So far, the state has purchased 10 pallets of water for the community. The first two pallets arrived on May 3.
This is the first time the state has purchased bottled water for Tuluksak in the three-and-a-half months since the fire occurred. In February, the state paid for the shipment of privately donated bottled water.
The funding for the purchased water and shipments is from the state’s disaster relief fund, which was freed up when Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a disaster declaration for the village in February.