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Canadian city gets backup water supply ready after oil spill

Officials in Saskatchewan are preparing a city of more than 35,000 people to deal with the disruption of its water supply as oil from a pipeline leak makes it way along a major river in the province.

Sam Ferris with Saskatchewan's water security agency says Prince Albert gets most of its water from the North Saskatchewan River, and staff there are getting ready to shut down the intakes as oil from the leak flows past the city.

Ferris says the city is planning to treat water from storm water retention ponds and other reservoirs, which he says would last approximately seven days.

Between 200,000 and 250,000 liters (52.000 and 65,000 gallons) of crude oil and other material leaked into the river on Thursday upstream from a breach in Husky Energy's pipeline near Maidstone, Saskatchewan.

The company shut down the line and put out the booms about 40 kilometers (25 miles) upstream from North Battleford, a city which has already shut its water intakes.

Ferris says officials are working on ways to treat water for hydrocarbons if backup water supplies run out before the oil passes.

He says the oil could reach Prince Albert late Sunday or early Monday.

Ferris says preparations are also being made further downstream after the North Saskatchewan and the South Saskatchewan rivers converge, where a Saskatchewan Water Corporation intake draws water for Melfort and other municipalities.