The town of Maple Creek, located in the southwestern part of Saskatchewan, mistakenly sent out a province-wide drinking water alert last week that was meant only for its 2,000 local residents.
The alert to boil water for at least one minute before drinking it, washing fruits and vegetables, or brushing teeth, was sent as a warning due to a water main break that led to depressurization of Maple Creek’s water distribution system.
While the alert was clearly directed towards residents of Maple Creek, it reached cellphones across Saskatchewan.
Patrick Boyle, spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Water Agency, told CBC News that the alert mishap was simply an accident.
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Maple Creek’s Economic Development Officer, Gillian LaBoucane, told CTV News that the alert software allows users to select drinking water, which puts it out as a broadcast alert. Selecting a wireless broadcast alert allowed anybody with a cellphone to get the message, but officials didn’t realize it would go to the entire province.
“Well, it’s one way to put us on the map,” said LaBoucane.
Additionally, Maple Creek officials used a door-to-door flyer service to spread the word about the boil advisory, which was expected to last several days until sampling of the water system could be completed.