‘We may run out’: Officials continue push for Calgarians to conserve water

Calgarians work together to preserve water as the city enters the fourth day of water restrictions. Margot Rubin reports.

Crews continue to work around the clock to repair a major water main break in northwest Calgary as a boil water advisory for residents in the surrounding area comes to an end.

During a Monday afternoon news conference city officials continued to thank Calgarians for trying to do their part to reduce water. Mayor Jyoti Gondek says demand for water is still not outstripping supply but stressed there is still a need for everyone to curb their usage.

“We are not close to what we typically need at this time of year,” says Gondek. “If we don’t stick to using less water, the reality is that we may run out of water.”

“I don’t say this to scare people, but I think it’s incredibly important for us to understand how serious the situation is right now.”

Crews were able to remove sections of the damaged pipe over the weekend, but still believe it will be several days before everything is resolved. The city is reviewing video inspection of to help them understand the extent of the damage.

The mayor shared some good news during an update earlier in the day on the feedermain break — saying the efforts from Calgarians are making a difference. She says every day, water use across the city has trended down.

“We have good news,” she said. “Calgarians, you have been incredible in cutting your water usage.”

Across the city on Sunday, 457 million litres of water was used. Last Wednesday, before the water break, Calgarians used 650 million litres.

“We have had a very significant reduction in water usage,” Gondek added.

Outdoor watering restrictions remain in effect, as does a fire ban. Alberta Health Services (AHS) confirmed the boil water advisory that was in place for the Bowness neighbourhood has been rescinded and satisfactory water quality has been restored for the community.

Since the break last Wednesday, officials say the city has received more than 800 calls to 311 about water misuse. Most of the calls received have resulted in either written or verbal warnings.

Sue Henry, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), says one ticket was issued Sunday to a contractor who was pouring concrete and pressure washing.

Calgarians are being asked to be smart about their indoor water use, including shortening their showers, using the dishwasher and washing machine only when needed and with full loads, and shutting off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving.

This comes as the mayor acknowledged poor communication on the issue, vowing the city would do better.

While no exact timeline has been provided for the repair of the break, officials have said it could be as long as a week.

Gondek and city chief administrative officer David Duckworth have committed to twice-a-day updates — at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. — until the issue is resolved.

CityNews will bring you the very latest on this ongoing story. Listen live for updates.

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