‘We would like to learn’: CRD using Calgary water main break as educational tool to protect capital region

'We would like to learn': CRD using Calgary water main break as educational tool to protect capital region

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is keeping a close eye on a massive water main break in Calgary, to learn from the situation and better protect the capital region’s water supply.

Calgary was put under a water emergency after the major feeder main in the city’s northwest fractured on June 5.

A neighbourhood in the city of 1.6 million people was put under a boil-water advisory.

READ MORE: Calgary mayor applauds reduced water use after pipeline break

Tuesday morning, Calgary’s mayor announced that boil water advisory has been lifted.

“We are still under restrictions,” Jyoti Gondek said. “The feeder main has not been repaired yet so you and I need to make sure that we are not using using any outdoor water and inside our homes we need to stick with limiting showers, toilet flushes and dishwasher and laundry loads.”

CRD Board Chair Colin Plant, and a few Saanich councillors, were in Calgary attending a conference over the weekend.

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Plant said they were asked to restrict shower times to help the city conserve water.

He told CHEK News while he hopes a massive water main break like Calgary’s doesn’t happen here, “it’s possible.”

The CRD’s drinking water comes from the Sooke Lake Reservoir.

That water is fed through one water main to a treatment facility before heading to multiple municipalities in the region though a serious of water mains.

Colin said the severity of a water main break depends on where the break is within the system.

“As it comes out of the Sooke Lake Reservoir, that is a significant place where if there was a failure it would be pretty challenging for this region,” he said.

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Alicia Fraser, general manager of CRD’s Integrated Water Services, said this is something the CRD is actively looking to fix.

“Our 2022 master plan has identified a number of significant infrastructure upgrades that once in place will reduce that risk,” Fraser explained.

She said this includes adding a second water main from the reservoir to the treatment facility that could be used in the event of an emergency.

Work on that project is set to begin in the next two years, with construction starting in the 2030’s.

“There’s also a number of transmission mains in our system we’re actively designing and we’re going to be moving forward with construction in the next few years to provide additional redundancy,” Fraser added.

According to the CRD, work is always being done to update aging infrastructure to reduce the risk of catastrophic failures, as well as adding more equipment to respond to emergencies.

Fraser said CRD Integrated Water Services is keeping a close eye on the situation in Calgary in hopes the capital region can avoid this kind of failure.

“Once they are out of this we would like to learn more about how this came about and what we can learn from that,” she explained.

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