‘More opportunity to stay cool,’ Calgary allowing all outdoor pools despite water restrictions

The city of Calgary says they are now allowing all outdoor pools to be filled, including private backyard and kiddie pools, with ongoing hot temperatures in the forecast. Phoenix Phillips reports.

For the first time in nearly a week, officials updated the public on Calgary’s water situation as the city remains under outdoor restrictions with a handful of exceptions.

During the Wednesday afternoon update, the city said they are now allowing all outdoor pools to be filled, including private backyard and kiddie pools, with ongoing hot temperatures in the forecast.

“We hope this move creates more opportunity to stay cool over the coming weeks,” said Calgary’s director of infrastructure Francois Bouchart.

Bouchart said water usage has been increasing steadily amid this week’s extreme heat, with near record-breaking heat forecast for Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Calgary used 550 million litres of water, up from 540 million litres on Monday and 507 million litres the day before.

“We anticipate this will increase again today,” Bouchart said. “Our distribution system is stable, and we remain able to meet water demand with Stage 3 outdoor water restrictions in place.”

Two wire snaps discovered along feeder main

On Tuesday, the city said it continues to make progress on stabilizing the water distribution system following repairs to the Bearspaw South Feeder Main, but more time is needed before moving from Stage 3 to Stage 2 restrictions.

Bouchart says monitors have found two additional wire snaps along the feeder main since the weekend.

“These two snaps aren’t a sign that another major break is imminent,” he says. “But they do give us some important clues about what the pipe can handle and will help inform our decision about whether the flow and pressure can be increased.”

The repaired feeder main is currently running at 55 per cent of its normal capacity, meaning supply is still limited.

Stage 3 restrictions remain

Under the current Stage 3 Outdoor Water Restrictions, some outdoor potable water use is allowed. This includes:

  • Watering plants with a watering can or container using water from the tap.
  • Using a sprinkler or hose to water new sod (for up to 21 days after it is planted) or lawn seed (for up to 45 days after it is planted).
  • Water use for construction purposes, like dust suppression, compaction, concrete mixing, watering of new trees and shrubs that are part of a new build and other construction-related activities.
  • Water use for home renovation projects, like washing driveways and other surfaces to prepare for paving/sealing, or power-washing a home prior to painting.

Outdoor pools, spray parks, and wading pools are resuming service, welcome news given this week’s hot weather. These facilities were given an exemption from Stage 3 water restrictions as they create safe spaces for people looking for relief from the heat.

The city says all of its wading pools ad spray parks are filled with potable water when they open and then recirculate the water through a system of filters for the rest of the season, which helps keep water use to a minimum.

During periods of extreme heat, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) recommends rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day, taking frequent breaks from the heat, and checking on children or pets before getting out of a vehicle.

Calgarians should watch for any symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, which include high body temperature, lack of sweat, confusion, fainting, and unconsciousness.

Extra attention should also be paid to babies, children, seniors, and individuals with pre-existing lung, heart, kidney, nervous system, mental health or diabetic conditions, outdoor workers, as well as those who are socially isolated, as they can experience earlier or more severe effects from heat.

For the latest on the heat wave, water restrictions, and more, tune in to CityNews 660.

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