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Calgary easing outdoor water restrictions; pools to reopen

In the update Saturday, officials downgraded outdoor water restrictions from stage 4 to stage 3.

Calgary’s outdoor water restrictions have been downgraded on Saturday while outdoor pools will be reopening to help with the heat.

Officials say no issues have been spotted so far as flow at the Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant increased to 55 per cent with 82 per cent of the city’s normal water pressure.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek says water use was at 492 million litres on day one of the Calgary Stampede, 18 per cent less than normal, and says that was part of the reason for the change downgrade.

Stage 3 outdoor water restrictions mean Calgarians can fill containers with potable water and do any kind of watering of their lawn, shrubbery, or gardens. However, residents can’t pull out the hose for any outdoor washing of windows or cars.

“You can use your outdoor tap or hose to fill a container, but you must hand-water your garden, your flowers, or any planters that you have. Using your sprinklers or your hoses is not allowed in stage three,” Gondek said.

When it comes to the impacts on businesses, she says the move away from indoor restrictions was in part a way to help businesses, but is still important for them with the outdoor restrictions now moved down a peg.

“Now as we move through the stages of outdoor restrictions, we are absolutely focused on making sure that people’s livelihoods are maintained,” she said.

Outdoor pools and spray parks to receive exemption amid heat

CEMA Chief Sue Henry says spray parks and outdoor public pools will be receiving an exemption from restrictions and will begin to reopen on Saturday for safety reasons due to the upcoming heat.

“We know the forecast points to very hot temperatures in the coming days, and we want to create an environment for all Calgarians to find a safe escape from the heat,” Henry said.

“Some City of Calgary spray parks should be open by 1 p.m. tomorrow (Sunday), however, outdoor waiting and community pools will take a bit more prep time.”

Filling private backyard pools remains restricted due to the amount of water that would be required, she says.

Temperatures on Sunday are going to climb to nearly 30 C, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada, and remain that way throughout much of the week.

Watch: Calgary’s state of emergency ends

Henry says each pool has its own prep time and updates will be on its website. When it comes to beating the heat, she recommends Calgarians check the city’s website.

In addition, she says the non-potable water stations the city set up in late June will be decommissioned as of 2 p.m. Saturday, except for the Ogden location, which will continue to be available for commercial and industry use.

“We know this has been incredibly difficult for many of our companies, and many of our industry partners and this is why this commercial site will remain open, particularly our landscaping businesses will have access to non-potable water at those sites,” she said.

In addition, street sweeping programs will also get underway.

Fire ban lifted, Emergency Operation Centre shutting down

As of 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the fire ban has been lifted, Henry explained.

She says this is due to the Calgary Fire Department having confidence there will be enough water supply in the system to handle any emergencies that arise.

This means residents can safely use propane and natural gas firepits, open fires, and recreational solid fuel barbecues such as charcoal briquettes or wood.

“All hot works that were previously restricted under the fire ban are now permitted to return to normal operations with the standard Firewatch and fire safety plan requirements under the fire and building codes,” she said.

Meanwhile, Henry says the Municipal Emergency Plan has been deactivated and the Emergency Operation Center will stand down.

“Our water teams will remain working 24/7 to make sure we have safe quality drinking water and that we continue on the path to recovery and restoration of service,” she said.

“This story is not over.”

She says the city will continue to update Calgarians with the latest information on and social media.

The city’s director of capital priorities and investment, Francois Bouchart, says outdoor restrictions will remain for some time as it is now going to inspect the results of a pipe diver inspection.

“We expect to receive results in three to four weeks,” he said.

“After assessing the results, we’ll be using this data to inform if there’s further investigation or repair work needed.”

He says the move to Stage 2 restrictions will involve how the city can respond to the water demand on its system.

“There might be some individual replacement of pipe, but that’s pretty mature in terms of truly identifying what we need to do,” he said.

The announcements come after Calgary ended its state of emergency over the water crisis earlier this week.

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