Calgary issues water reduction advisory, commits to provincial water-sharing agreement

The City of Calgary has implemented a water reduction advisory while the province has announced new water-sharing agreements, both initiatives aimed at tackling severe drought conditions. Henna Saeed reports.

Calgary is under a water reduction advisory, effective immediately.

The announcement from the city came just hours after the province announced its plan to deal with water supply during what is expected to be a very dry summer.

Calgarians are being asked to reduce their water use and “make every drop count.”

“Calgarians can start now with reducing outdoor water use, as a lot of us begin our yard work this spring,” Nicole Newton, manager of Natural Environment and Adaptation said Friday. “Residents can start limiting outdoor watering to early morning and later in the evening and keeping it to a maximum four hours a week. It’s a good, responsible approach to yard and gardening efforts in Calgary’s dry climate and prepares Calgarians for drier conditions when restrictions are in place later this season.”

Other actions recommended by the city include avoiding watering during or after it has rained, choosing drought-tolerant plants, limiting shower time, only running full loads of clothes and dishes, fixing leaky faucets, and turning off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.

Newton says Calgary has been in a drought since water restrictions were lifted last fall.

“At The City of Calgary, we’ve continued to reduce our water use and look for more ways to conserve in our day-to-day operations,” she said. “This spring, we’re strongly advising Calgarians join us in the effort. It’s the perfect time of year for us to ramp up awareness and for citizens to start taking action.”

According to the city, actions taken by residents to preserve water when prompted by the city in the past made a significant difference.

Calgary’s water utility bylaw will see changes in June, according to the city, and an update to the city’s drought response.

The city claims this will allow it to be more responsive to the changing drought conditions.

It will include, introducing a permanent and staged outdoor watering schedule that will help support a transition to outdoor water restrictions.

When the bylaw is passed, the city plans to implement an appropriate watering schedule stage as soon as possible. It will work with residents and businesses to ensure they know the requirements.

The city will continue to watch how fast the mountain snowpack melts, and the amount of spring rain the region gets, in order to inform upcoming water restrictions later this spring.

Calgary is also a part of the Bow River water sharing agreement announced by the province Friday.

If that agreement is activated, the city is committed to implement drought response measures that could collectively reduce overall water use by five to 10 per cent.

Calgarians consistently answer the call to be water smart, the city says, and, despite substantial population growth in the city, there has been a stable demand for water.

For more information on drought in Calgary, including actions you can take, visit

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