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Iqaluit residents line up outside of Nakasuk Elementary School to get bottled water donated by the City of Iqaluit on Oct. 15, 2021.Pat Kane/The Globe and Mail

Iqaluit is getting $214-million from the federal government to fix its water infrastructure after the Nunavut capital’s water was contaminated with fuel twice in the last six months.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the funding at a virtual news conference on Friday.

“This is a positive change for the people of Iqaluit and for the local economy,” Mr. Trudeau said.

A packed room of people watching the announcement at Iqaluit City Hall broke into applause after the announcement. The money will come from the federal government’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation fund.

Mr. Trudeau said the money will be used to create a new water reservoir and to improve the existing water distribution system.

The city’s some 8,000 residents couldn’t drink their tap water for 60 days last fall after it was found to be contaminated with fuel.

The treatment plant has been offline since January, when fuel was found in the water again.

The city had previously asked Ottawa for $180-million to fix its aging water infrastructure.

Iqaluit mayor Kenny Bell said the new infrastructure will be built in phases over four years.

Premier P.J. Akeeagok said the improvements are also essential to building more homes in the city to address the its housing gap.

“This upgraded infrastructure will not only be able to mitigate the impacts of climate change, but it will also meet the needs of our expanding population,” Mr. Akeeagok said.

“Access to clean, safe water is a right that should be available to any community. Nunavummiut have struggled to gain this basic right for far too long.”

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