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Native Village of Akhiok, Alaska

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Mention of Kodiak usually conjures up rainy weather. But on the southern tip of the island, months of low rainfall and a poor winter snowpack left the village of Akhiok so dry only murky brown water and sand fleas come from faucets. Akhiok has become dependent on planes and boats for water. Businesses in the city of Kodiak a hundred miles away donated gallon jugs of water, and the municipality sent 5-gallon plastic jerry cans for carrying water. When it's too windy for planes to land, villagers set out in skiffs to a cannery 15 minutes away to get water, but the cannery is running dry, too. Akhiok, with about 100 summer residents, needs about 10,000 gallons every day. But the village reservoir has only about 5,000 to 6,000 gallons, even after recent rains. "From a health perspective, they should not be using that water at all, it's of such poor quality,'' engineer Randy Muth said. Villagers say they have no choice. Drilling a well through bedrock may not work because the bedrock prevents water from percolating to layers below. Expanding the reservoir couldn't be accomplished until the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium seeks funding in the fall.