Calgary lifts indoor water restrictions, outdoor ban remains after water main break

Calgary lifts indoor water restrictions, outdoor ban remains after water main break
Crews continue to work to repair a major water main break and five other weak spots in Calgary, Saturday, June 22, 2024. Indoor water use can return to normal in Calgary and its surrounding communities.

Calgary’s water conservation crisis has taken one big step to being over, as the city’s mayor says residents are no longer being asked to restrict their indoor water use.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek says people can resume their normal number of showers, toilet flushes and loads of laundry and dishes but is urging them to go slow

“The reductions you have been doing at home are not needed anymore, so you can return to using water inside your home the way that you were used to,” Gondek told a news conference Tuesday.

“We’re asking people (to) ease into this though, so we can continue to make sure that we’ve got enough water supply for everyone.”

A mandatory ban on outdoor water use, including watering lawns, remained in effect, along with a mandatory fire ban.

Restrictions were put in place for the city of 1.6 million people and the surrounding communities of Chestermere, Airdrie, and Tsuut’ina Nation, after a major water main that supplies 60 per cent of the region’s drinking water ruptured on June 5.

Crews scrambled to repair the breach, shutting down a commuter road to do so. The work was further complicated when five more weak spots in the pipeline were discovered.

The repairs prompted the city to declare a state of emergency in order to gain access to private property to make repairs  For several days, residents close to the break in northwest Calgary were ordered to boil their water.

For the past month, Calgarians were asked to reduce indoor water use by 25 per cent to keep enough in reserve for hospitals and firefighters.

Along with the indoor restrictions, they were asked to make other sacrifices, such as going longer without getting their trucks or cars washed and collecting rainwater in barrels and kiddie pools for watering plants.

Gondek said for the most part Calgarians met those targets.

The resumption of normal indoor water use comes just before Friday’s start of the Calgary Stampede, one of Canada’s signature summer festivals, which brings in thousands of visitors.

The city previously said it did not expect the Stampede to have a major effect on water usage given data on water use in past years.

The water crisis also raised questions and awareness on the uses of treated and non-treated water.

The city received complaints about city crews watering trees and golf courses continuing to hydrate greens. Gondek had to explain the water was not treated water and did not impact use for others.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2024.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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