A Wildwood Park man says if he had followed common sense and ignored advice from city hall, he’d have water flowing at his home today.
Instead, Jesse Cringan said he has joined a long list of neighbours on his street without water because of frozen water lines.
"For three days, I asked the city, ‘should I leave my taps running,’ and each time the city said ‘no,’" Cringan said. "This morning, I had no water."
Cringan said he learned late last week that several neighbours on his bay have been without water for over a week because their water lines froze.
Cringan said all the homes in the development were built at about the same time – 1950 – and are served by the same water line.
"It made sense to me that if their lines are frozen that maybe I’d be next," Cringan said, adding he wanted authorization from the city to run his taps so he could avoid a higher water bill.
Cringan said he kept his taps closed only to wake up Monday morning to find his home didn’t have any water either.
"I guess, looking back, I should have just decided I’d run the water and pay the extra on my water bill.
"It would be better to incur a higher water bill for a few months rather than go without water at all for four to six weeks."
City officials this week said they were advising about 1,000 property owners, who’ve had frozen water lines in the past, to keep a single tap open running a straw’s diameter of water, 24 hours a day.
Officials said the additional cost on the water bills would be waived – but only for those properties who were formally notified by letter from the city.
The number of properties with frozen water lines waiting to be thawed has more than doubled within a week – at the end of today, the number of affected properties was 616; a week ago it was 297 properties.
Property owners have been told they will likely have to wait 3 weeks before their lines can be thawed and city officials said the situation could persist until May or June.
An unusually frigid winter is blamed for the situation, with the frost reaching deeper into the ground than ever before, resulting in more frozen water lines.
Cringan said he’s frustrated that the city isn’t advising all residents to keep their taps running around-the-clock to avoid lines from freezing up.
"Properties are freezing that never froze before, so we should be worrying about everyone’s property," Cringan said.
"You would think the city’s priority would be to prevent more properties from being affected but they seemed to be more concerned about losing potential income."