Calgary officials estimate that water restrictions may be reduced by July 5 as repairs advance on five damaged areas in the south Bearspaw feeder main. Airdrie city officials have also provided an update on some contingency plans that they are working on as level four water restrictions persist in Airdrie.

According to Airdrie officials, while taking water from storm ponds is prohibited by the city's drainage bylaw, Water Services and Parks Operations are currently exploring opportunities to provide non-potable water to residents for the purposes of watering gardens and flowers.

"At this point, we are working towards having some direction on this shortly."

Many residents have also been inquiring about the city's rain barrel program, which found meteoric success this year. 

"Our regular supplier is sold out for 2024, and we are currently working with another supplier out of Ontario to provide the rest of the rain barrels for those who have pre-ordered with us. We received one shipment from Ontario at the end of last week, and we expect to receive the rest of the barrels we require to cover our pre-orders by the end of June," Airdrie officials wrote in an email.

Based on the numbers provided thus far, the city expects to have approximately 50 additional rain barrels—beyond their pre-orders—available for purchase as they continue to work with the Ontario supplier to see if they can increase this number further. The City also stated that now that they have a more precise timeline of water restrictions, they are going to begin conversations with other municipalities about water.

"We are going to open up conversations about if we need water from other areas and for whom. Discussions on this will continue throughout the week."

And as far as Canada Day is concerned, officials said these are early days.

"We are just starting conversations on how this will impact events; we don’t have anything to comment on this yet, but will in the coming days," an official for the city added.

Yesterday, Calgary officials stated that with the arrival of two new lengths of pipe from San Diego early yesterday morning and excavation completed at the sites of five hot spots, work on repairing the water feeder main break is progressing faster than expected.

City of Calgary Infrastructure Services General Manager Michael Thompson shared that the construction timeline has been advanced to return to reducing water restrictions by July 5. The two pieces of pipe have arrived and are now being sandblasted and coated with epoxy, which should take about two days.

"As we look at the work completed to date, specifically the excavations and exposing the five sections of pipe, we can now share we are aiming for the low end of our original timeline of three to five weeks, which would be July 5," said Thompson. "There are still many risks ahead, but every day we work through this complex repair, we become more confident in our timeline."

Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Acting Chief Coby Duerr said that city officials are also working with the construction industry to open two locations on the Bow River over the next few days to provide non-potable water for construction work. 

"We want to thank the Provincial Government for expediting the permits needed to help move this program forward quickly,” says Duerr. “We’ll have more firm details, including locations and timing, to share shortly."

The City of Calgary Recreation has closed several pools to conserve water and perform maintenance that requires the pools to be drained.

"In the coming days, city crews will be taking that de-chlorinated water from pools to reuse for washing bridges and bridge decks and for certain construction applications," Duerr added.

He also praised local groups who deal with Calgary’s vulnerable community.

"We have been regularly checking in with our emergency shelter and social agency partners throughout Calgary, and I am pleased to report they are doing well,” he said. "In fact, we have heard anecdotally that one shelter has reduced their water consumption by 40 percent."

Calgarians continue to limit their water use, using 445 million litres Tuesday, or nearly 27 percent below normal. 

Airdrie water consumption hit target

In a brief update on Monday afternoon, city officials said that Airdrie residents' water conservation has paid off, hitting a 25 per cent drop in water usage.

"Great work, Airdrie! Our community's efforts to reduce water usage are paying off. Yesterday, June 17, we saw a 25 per cent drop in water usage compared to normal levels before the outdoor water restrictions," The City stated.

However, the Genesis Place pool and aquatics facilities will remain closed until and including July 1. 

"Ice-arena activities resumed over the weekend. The water used to maintain the City’s ice arenas is being supplied from sources outside the Calgary water main break impacted region via a water truck," officials added.

Under level four water restrictions, all outdoor water use is temporarily banned, and indoor water conservation is strongly encouraged. Under level four water restrictions, residents cannot:

  • Water lawns, gardens, trees, shrubs and flowers by any method other than rain water.
  • Wash down any outdoor surfaces, including exterior building surfaces, windows, sidewalks, driveways, or walkways of any sort unless your business requires them to for health and safety reasons.
  • Wash cars on driveways or streets.
  • Fill outdoor decorative features, fountains, pools, or hot tubs.
  • Use potable water for construction purposes such as grading, compaction, or dust control.

No boil water advisories are in effect within the City of Airdrie, and water remains safe to drink.

"To ensure we share the water currently available, we are asking Airdrie residents to immediately restrict indoor water use by taking the following voluntary actions:"

  • Use dishwasher and washing machine only when required and with full loads.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Limit showers to five minutes or less and keep baths shallow.
  • Scrape plates clean rather than rinsing food off.
  • Turn off humidifiers and ice machines, delay washing vehicles,
  • Businesses using large volumes of non-essential water, such as laundromats and car washes, are asked to reduce water use.
  • Businesses that use water to deliver a life-sustaining product or service for people and animals are exempt. Other exemptions include businesses using water to meet health code standards, such as health centres and restaurants.

"We thank residents for their cooperation in making temporary sacrifices to ensure that Airdrie and our surrounding communities have water for life-saving purposes," The City added.

Road closures 

Several road closures are associated with the ongoing repairs to the water main.

"Access to all businesses in the area is currently being maintained, and Bowness and Montgomery businesses are open. We encourage you to shop locally and, where possible, plan your route ahead of time to avoid delays."

The following traffic impacts will be in effect until the completion of the feeder main repairs:

  • Westbound lanes along 16 Avenue Northwest from 49 Street Northwest to Home Road will remain closed. Eastbound lanes will be open.
  • 16 Avenue Northwest will be closed in both directions from 46 Street Northwest and 45 Street Northwest
  • 16 Avenue Northwest will be closed in both directions from 43 Street Northwest to Bowness Road Northwest
  • East/West traffic will be detoured onto Bowness Road. Expect delays.
  • Eastbound detour starts at 46 Street to Bowness Road and re-enters 16 Avenue at the Shaganappi Trail interchange.

An Alberta Emergency Alert advisory remains in place for Calgary, Airdrie, Strathmore, and Chestermere.

"... Supply levels remain in a critical state, affecting the city's ability to provide water to communities and ensure adequate water is available to support emergency fire suppression."

While a fire ban remains in place in both Airdrie and Calgary, on Monday, Rocky View County lifted its fire ban. 

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