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Calgary easing outdoor water restrictions, re-opening public pools

Calgary easing outdoor water restrictions, re-opening public pools

CALGARY – Calgary is easing some outdoor water restrictions after a major water main break last month triggered a local state of emergency and forced officials to curtail water use in the city.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said at a Saturday morning announcement the city’s water supply is now at a healthy enough level that Calgarians can begin watering outdoor plants by hand with buckets of tap water. 

Washing exterior windows, cars, and using sprinklers is still off limits, but with hot weather expected, public outdoor pools and spray parks can now reopen.

“We need to get through this one stage at a time. We’re still in the post-op phase, if we compare this to a medical procedure. The water system is up and walking, but it’s not ready to run yet,” she said.

Gondek asked residents to gradually move back into using water outdoors the same way they moved back to normal indoor usage. 

It remains to be seen when more restrictions can be lifted, since the city is waiting to see how well the water system can handle the added stress.

Emergency Management Agency Chief Sue Henry said the local fire department is confident it has enough water to respond to emergencies, so the city-wide ban on fire pits is being lifted.

Businesses can use potable water for construction, including for dust control.

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

It was invoked to gain authority to access private property to fix the broken pipe, but after the pipe was repaired, residents were no longer asked to cut indoor water use by 25 per cent starting this week.

Gondek said Saturday water use is still down 18 per cent from what is normal for this time of year.

“This is part of the reason that we are confident that enough water supply exists to move (to fewer) restrictions,” said Gondek.

Capital priorities and investments director Francois Bouchert said the feeder main is now flowing at 55 per cent water capacity and 82 per cent of normal operating pressure. 

River water stations for residents to pick up non-potable water are closing Saturday afternoon, but one will remain open for commercial and industrial 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,” said Henry.




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