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Rural Alaska

Water supplies improve in Kenai Peninsula communities hit by drought

This Sept. 4, 2019, photo provided by the City of Seldovia shows water behind the community's dam during a hot, dry summer. (Cassidi Cameron/City of Seldovia via AP)

Recent rains have restored water levels in two Kenai Peninsula communities hit this summer by severe drought, and usage restrictions have been lifted.

Nanwalek and Seldovia temporarily imposed conservation measures after struggling to meet their water needs amid the state’s hot, dry summer. The communities rely on rain and snowmelt to fill reserves.

Nanwalek Tribal Administrator Gwen Kvasnifoff said conditions are “a lot better” with the local reservoir filling. To deal with water shortages, the community had shut off the public water supply 12 hours each day and was barging in jugs of water.

Seldovia City Manager Cassidi Cameron said rainfall has brought the water levels back to normal. During the drought, automatic flush toilets were switched to manual flushing, and restaurants were serving meals on paper plates.

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