As oil slowly moves down the North Saskatchewan River the City of Prince Albert has put forward an unprecedented plan to ensure safe water for its residents.

An oil plume from last week’s oil spill has compromised some of the containment systems set up to stop the flow and has already reached North Battleford and is expected to reach Prince Albert in the next couple days.

Prince Albert City officials announced on Sunday afternoon their plan to divert water from the South Saskatchewan River to their reservoir from a spot just downstream of Muskoday First Nation.

Crews are already in the process of constructing an above ground pipeline that will travel along Highway 302 bringing the water from the river to the city’s reservoir.

According to City Manager Jim Toye the plan should guarantee water for the community for two-months until the oil spill has been contained and cleaned.

“Our current water supply at the water treatment plant and our backup reservoir ponds will be providing residents with safe drinking water until this pipeline and all the pumps required are fully on board,” said Toye.

As for the cost of the pipeline, Toye admits they can’t give out a figure, but he does say he plans on seeking compensation from Husky Energy.  He even went as far to say they city would take Husky to court over the compensation if the energy company does not comply.

City engineers say the pipeline should be completed in the coming week and updates on the process will be provided.

In the meantime Prince Albert residents and businesses are asked to not use water war anything that is considered non-essential.

City officials say they have a plan to enact a bylaw restricting water usage by businesses and residents.

“Any non-essential use of water must cease and desist immediately,” said Toye.

The reason North Battleford does not have to implement the same measures is because they have a secondary water source that collects water from the ground.  This water has not been impacted by the oil spill.

“The liability for this should be with the polluter and not with the city’s and municipalities that have been affected by the pollution.”

In the latest on the spill from the province 100,000 litres of the 250,000 litre spill has been cleaned up on the shoreline or skimmed through containment efforts.

Heavy rainfall waters from Edmonton over the weekend made containment efforts difficult as the flow of oil continues to move down the river.

The province says three cases of oiled birds have been reported.  These birds are alive and currently receiving treatment.

Clean-up and planning activities by different government agencies will continue throughout the week.

The North Saskatchewan River eventually joins up with the South Saskatchewan River becoming the Saskatchewan River.  This river flows northeast through the province by the communities of Nipawin and Cumberland House.