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City-wide impacts from water main break: Water restrictions, fire bans, schools

A major water main break in northwest Calgary leading to thousands of people being under a boil water advisory and restrictions across the rest of the city. Henna Saeed reports on when the repairs will be done.

A major water main break in northwest Calgary on Wednesday evening has prompted water restrictions for all Calgarians.

In addition to having a major impact on surrounding neighbourhoods in the Bowness area, the city has implemented several Calgary-wide restrictions for residents and businesses.

CityNews660 will have the latest on this story as it develops. Listen live here.

Here is a list of impacts across the city as crews work around the clock to repair the break:

Water restrictions

Around 5 a.m. Thursday, the officials said Calgary was under Stage 4 outdoor water restrictions city-wide, while informing residents of Bowness they would need to boil their water.

An update on the situation from Mayor Jyoti Gondek, Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Chief Susan Henry, and City of Calgary Water Services Director Nancy Mackay was given to the public Thursday morning.

“This means no watering of any kind outdoors,” said CEMA Chief Sue Henry, who added the break is impacting the entire city, not just the neighbourhood directly affected by the break.

Businesses are being asked to stop water use for all non-essential services. Businesses using water to deliver a product or service that is life sustaining for people, animals and plants are exempt.

The following is restricted for residences:

  • Watering lawns, gardens, trees and shrubs with city water
  • Filling outdoor pools or hot tubs
  • Washing outdoor surfaces, including:
    • Windows
    • Exterior building surfaces
    • Sidewalks, driveways or walkways
  • Filling fountains or decorative water features
  • Washing your car in the driveway or street
  • Using water for construction purposes such as grading, compaction or dust control

Calgarians are also being asked to limit their indoor water use. Anyone caught breaking the rules could be faced with a fine starting at $3,000.

More information on stage 4 restrictions can be found here.

“Regardless of where you live in Calgary, this outage will put pressure on all water sources across the city,” Henry explained. “We’re asking you to make temporary sacrifices so that everyone has access to water for these truly critical issues.”

Low water levels prompt fire bans

Fire Chief Steve Dongworth has implemented a city-wide fire ban, Henry announced Thursday.

“We need to ensure that we have no additional fire risks to the city at this time,” she said.

Airdrie and Rocky View County have also implemented a ban on fires to support restricted water usage as a result of the break.

In both Calgary, Airdrie, and West/East Rocky View County, all existing fire permits are suspended and all residential fire pits and campground fire pits are banned. Residents are also not allowed to use barbecues fueled by charcoal, briquettes, or wood.

Fireworks are also not allowed under the ban.

Natural gas, propane, electric stoves, barbecues, and smokers that are CSA approved or ULC certified are allowed.

The ban is expected to be in place until water conditions improve.

City services impacted

Various city facilities and services are disrupted as a result of the main break and related restrictions.

City officials say all pools and arenas are closed, as are art centres.

Athletic parks are open, but no showers are available at city athletic parks. The same goes for the Calgary Soccer Centre, which is open but without showers.

Street sweeping scheduled for the communities of Willow Park, Sandstone Valley, Taradale, Saddleridge, Royal Oak, Highland Park, Greenview, Cranston, Penbrooke Meadows, Southwood, Aspen Woods, and Springbank Hill won’t happen as a result of restrictions. Streets that haven’t been completed will have their dates rescheduled.

Bulk water stations are temporarily closed until restrictions are lifted at the following locations:

  • Fire Hall # 20 – 2800 Peacekeepers Way S.W.
  • Fire Hall # 21 – 209 Silvergrove Dr. N.W.
  • Fire Hall # 26 – 450 Midpark Way S.E.

The northeast and the southeast station are still open for safety or health related filling only

Restrictions spread past city limits

The City of Airdrie has also introduced water restrictions due to the break.

On its website, the city says it is currently under level four outdoor water restrictions, meaning outdoor water use is temporarily banned and indoor water conservation is strongly encouraged.

At this time, Airdronians are asked not to water lawns, gardens, trees, and shrubs by any method, wash down any outdoor surfaces, wash cars on driveways or streets, fill outdoor decorative features, fountains, pools, or hot tubs.

Residents are also strongly encouraged to follow indoor water restrictions, including limiting showers and baths, and dishwasher and washing machine use,.

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