Calgary officials keeping eye on water usage amid heat wave

From collecting water with a rain barrel to keeping the tap from running too long, Margot Rubin asks Calgarians if Calgary’s water restrictions will impact their water habits long-term.

With a heat wave hitting Calgary this week, city officials say they are keeping a close eye on water usage.

In an update on Tuesday, the City of Calgary says work continues to stabilize the water system after the Bearspaw South feeder main burst more than a month ago, but they add more time is needed before outdoor water restrictions can be further reduced.

“This continues to be a matter of supply and demand,” says Ryan Kidd, Deputy Director of Water Services in a statement. “So far, the pipe is handling the increased pressure, but we cannot yet supply enough water to lower (restrictions) more than we have so far.”

The feeder main that ruptured along 16 Avenue NW on June 5 is now operating at 55 per cent of normal capacity. Up to this point it has successfully handled an increase in water pressure.

Furthermore, the hot weather this week has led to a rise in water usage and the city says the system, so far, has been able to meet the demand. There were 540 million litres of water used on Monday, up from 507 million litres on Sunday.

“We’re watching demand over the next few days, and we expect it to rise as the weather warms up,” says Kidd.

“We are confident we can meet the increased demand with the current restrictions in place, and we are continuing to look at ways to safely increase water flow through the feeder main and add to our supply.”

Calgary’s outdoor water restrictions were downgraded on Saturday when the city moved from Stage 4 to Stage 3 restrictions.

Stage 3 means residents can fill containers with potable water and do any kind of watering of their lawn, shrubbery, or gardens. However, using a hose or sprinkler is still prohibited. A full list of Stage 3 restrictions can be found here.

Spray parks and outdoor public pools were given an exemption from restrictions and started to reopen on Saturday for safety reasons ahead of the hot weather. Filling private backyard pools remains restricted.

A fire ban was also lifted over the weekend with the city saying they are confident there is enough water supply in the system to handle any emergencies that arise.

The city says they will resume their daily afternoon updates at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

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