Prince Albert City Manager Jim Toye. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski

Prince Albert officials say water usage has spiked since the City loosened restrictions on business and residents that have been in place since the Husky oil spill made its way towards the city.

Between Wednesday and Thursday, the water treatment plant went from pumping 1,100 cubic metres to 2,000 cubic metres, said Amjad Khan, director of public works.

Alternate water pipelines drawing from the South Saskatchewan River and Little Red River, rather than the contaminated North Saskatchewan River, are flowing to the City’s water treatment plant at a steady pace.

As of right now though, the City of Prince Albert is catching heat for prioritizing activities like watering lawns and filling pools in the city instead of starting the flow of treated water back to the Prince Albert Rural Water Authority, which supplies Muskoday First Nation.

This decision is in keeping with the actions the City has taken ever since the Husky Energy oil spill contaminated the North Saskatchewan River, said City Manager Jim Toye.

Those served by the rural authority “are going to be second and certainly they may be disappointed with that, but if things continue the way they should, the way we expect them, we expect that they will be turned on in the not too distant future,” he said.

As long as the current pipelines are running properly, there should be no problem keeping up with current demand on the water supply, Khan said.

Prince Albert is still seeking a stable source of water that can be used after freeze up. As it stands, temporary pipelines that are delivering water to the city would freeze as temperatures drop within the next three months.

One contractor has offered technology that is often used to insulate and heat water pipelines for fracking operations in Alberta, Toye said. He acknowledges it’s good to have options, but said this is not ideal because it’s pricey.

“Our ultimate goal is to have our plant to have the capacity to then get, before (winter), to have our water come from the North Saskatchewan River,” he said.

At the Thursday media conference, Toye also announced that Husky Energy has hired an independent adjuster to handle insurance claims related to the spill.Toye also says Husky Energy is setting up an insurance claims clinic to help people and businesses fill out forms related to the impacts of the oil spill. Braemar Adjusting is handling the claims, after being involved in the Fort McMurray claims in May.

Photo ID, banking information and receipts or invoices related to claims should be brought to the Travelodge either on Friday or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Both individuals and businesses can file claims at the claim centre. The claim centre will be taking appointments online through booking on its website.