High and dry: Nybyen and Haugen without water much of Sunday due to damaged pipe


A leak in a water main at Vei 217 left hundreds of Longyearbyen residents without water from about midday Sunday. Officials said the leak is expected to be repaired by about 8 p.m. (Update: water service was restored shortly before 8 p.m.)

“We’re working on it and guessing you have water within two hours,” wrote Kristoffer Arrington Elind, an Imtech official, in a post on the city’s community Facebook page at about 6 p.m. “Drink beer.”

The shutoff affected all buildings beyond Vei 217 toward Nybyen, as well as Vei 222. Among the major businesses affected were Spitsbergen Hotel, Spitsbergen Lodge, Guesthouse 102, Galleri Svalbard and Coal Miner’s Cabin. Marthe Salamonsens, a receptionist at Spitsbergen Hotel, said the hotel was still able to provide coffee and waffles to guests – as well as commercial water in bottles and cans – and they seemed to be accepting the outage well.

“They understand it’s not our fault,” she said.

Large reserve containers of water could have been brought from the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel if Spitsbergen Hotel were facing an overnight water cutoff, Salamonsens said.

“The most important thing is the guests have drinking water,” she said.