Calgary urges water conservation on first day of spring

The city is urging Calgarians to immediately reduce water usage or else restrictions could be implemented as early as May 1st, due to the ongoing drought situation. Henna Saeed reports.

It’s the first day of spring, and the City of Calgary is already highlighting the importance of responsible water use following a dry winter and the anticipation of a very dry summer.

“It’s critical that we work together to do our part and incorporate water conservation into our daily routines this year,” Mayor Gondek said Tuesday. “Over the last 20 years, Calgarians have steadily reduced their water use. In fact, we’re taking less water from the river than we did in 2003 while serving a population that has grown by half a million. It’s in Calgarians’ nature to answer the call when an emergent situation arises, and I know this year will be no different.”

City operations are also taking steps to conserve water this spring, meaning municipal vehicles may be less clean, park spaces might be less green, and many display fountains will be put on pause.

Outdoor water use will still be implemented when necessary, but the city says it’s being smart about how and when it’s used.

This will include reusing stormwater to water some golf courses, park spaces, and flower baskets, and using efficient irrigation systems that use up to 30 per cent less water to keep sports turf intact.

Calgarians are encouraged to take small steps to conserve water at home, in their yards, and at their businesses, which will also help them to save money on their utility bills.

This can include taking shorter showers, washing only full loads in the dishwasher or washing machine, and turning off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving.

RELATED: Tips on planting and maintaining a Calgary garden during drought

According to the city, these small changes can save the average household hundreds of litres of water per month.

Ahead of the season for planting and growing, the city says those will green thumbs can partake in their hobby while still being water smart.

Preparing a yard for dry conditions and potential water restrictions can include installing a rain barrel, adding mulch to the garden to reduce evaporation, and making sure that downspouts are either pointed into their rain barrel or towards the garden.

The city says businesses can save water and expenses by reviewing their operations, finding and fixing leaks, and increasing water use awareness with their employees.

“The long-term forecast predicts warmer than average temperatures this spring, which may increase pressure on our water supply if we’re not mindful about how much water we’re using,” Nicole Newton, manager of natural environment and adaptation, explained. “If dry conditions persist, outdoor water restrictions may be in place as early as May 1 to ensure there is enough water to meet Calgary’s essential needs including water for drinking and fighting fires, as well as to support our neighbours and river health.”

City officials will continue to monitor conditions in the watershed, including snowpack, river flows, and rewervoirs, upcoming forecasts, projected water demand, and other indicators to determine further steps in Calgary.

An update on drought conditions and Calgary’s response is expected in late April.

More information on conditions, and ways to conserve water, visit

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