BSNC to donate bottled water to Koyuk amid infrastructure issues

A view of the city of Koyuk, Alaska. (From Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs)

The Bering Strait Native Corporation is providing 100 cases of drinking water to the city of Koyuk. The donation comes after a recent freeze affected homes and other buildings.

Laverne Kimoktoak is the tribal coordinator for the Native Village of Koyuk. She said due to older infrastructure many of the homes in the city are without drinking water.

“We’ve been without water for about maybe five weeks, and the shortage of water has been just a hustle and bustle,” Kimoktoak said. “Trying to get drinking water to the homes has been a struggle for most.”

The failure of water service was due to freezing conditions and the general age of the system, Kimoktoak said. The problem, she says, started in one part of town and then developed in others.

“The water froze on the west loop that town and it just kind of continued with each home,” Kimoktoak said. “We couldn’t get water through the system.”

Kimoktoak added that the community has a washeteria, but it is hardly used because of its antiquated condition. It was built in the 1980s and the building structure is now failing.

Kevin Knowlton, the emergency preparedness officer at Kawerak, says the regional tribal consortium donated water last weekend which was then distributed to residents.

Kimoktoak will be handing out more water to Koyuk residents as soon as it arrives.

“The people will be very happy,” Kimoktoak said. “We’ve already received (hundreds of) cases of water from Kawerak, and I’ve distributed four cases to each home on the east loop and the west loop. We will be doing east loop distribution one case at a time until we get more water in.”

Alaska Airlines is donating half of the cost of the freight to Koyuk, according to Bering Strait Native Corporation.

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