Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said that restoring water service to the city and surrounding communities could happen as early as July 1, four days ahead of previously determined timelines.

She did stress that the July 1 deadline is dependent on the success of the next steps of bringing the water feeder main back online, which include filling and flushing the pipe, testing the water, as well as stabilizing the system.

"The filling of the two-meter wide pipe begins early this evening and it could last between a day to a day and a half or two days."

As the pipe is filled and brought up to capacity, it will be monitored closely to make sure there are no further complications.

"The flushing of the pipe will likely begin on Friday to remove any debris or other substances and allow for clean water to flow through the feeder main. Lab testing of the clean water is next and it's anticipated that will happen on the weekend. Then the feeder main will be brought back into operation with regular pressure slowly being restored, easing into stabilizing the system. If every step of what I have just outlined goes according to plan, it is possible that we could have water service restored by the first of July."

Mayor Gondek added that at that time, officials may then look at easing the indoor water reductions.

"If there are any problems in any of those four steps, for example, if the water testing comes back and says we are not good to go yet, or if we have any issues in stabilizing the system, it could be more days," she added. "That's why it's so important to continue to use less water every day as you have been until we know for sure that we have the all-clear."

Canada Day fireworks in Calgary going ahead as planned

Susan Henry, Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), announced that plans for Canada Day, including fireworks, will be going ahead as previously planned after deliberation with the Calgary Fire Department.

"We know you've given up a lot of luxuries over these last few weeks and we know that our Canada Day festivities are an important part of celebrating who we are. While we always had planned to go ahead with daytime programming that didn't drive any additional water use. After much planning, we can confirm the evening fireworks will proceed as scheduled," she said.

However, she added that a fire ban continues to be in place for Calgary. 

Michael Thompson, General Manager for the City of Calgary also said that crew are starting to demobilize from the sites which includes moving heavy equipment off of the sites and reinstalling adjacent infrastructure such as streetlights and guardrails.

"We're starting to clean up the sights and prepare for reopening. The road will reopen in phases starting at repair area one: 16 Avenue Northeast and 46th Street. Repair area one will open tomorrow, and repair two will follow once the paving is completed," he said.

Francois Bouchart, the Director of Capital Priorities and Investment with the City of Calgary also explained that in preparation for filling the feeder main, crews have added extra chlorine to the water at the  Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant.

"This will help us effectively clean the pipe. People in the community of Bowness may notice an increase in the taste and smell of chlorine in their drinking water. I want to assure you that the water is safe for consumption. However, if you do want to remove the taste and smell, we recommend filling a container with water and keeping it in the fridge for drinking. Much of the chlorine will dissipate from the water in the jug after a few hours."

He underlined the change in chlorine levels is temporary. 

Water usage is high in Airdrie and Calgary

Water usage in Airdrie earlier this week was the highest it has been since June 17, following Calgary's water consumption pattern which has seen an increase over the past few days. Airdrie City officials continued to remind everyone to reduce water use to meet the 25 per cent water consumption reduction target.

"When Municipal Enforcement receives a complaint, they investigate and educate residents about the outdoor water ban. So far, this approach has resulted in no-repeat complaints or fines. However, repeat occurrences will likely result in fines. Please report any violations to 403-948-8888," The City stated. 

On Wednesday morning, Mayor Jyoti Gondek also sounded the alarm on water usage.

"Yesterday, we used 471 million litres of water, and that's at about 98 per cent of our acceptable threshold and it puts us potentially at risk for life-saving measures, like people in hospital or firefighting efforts," she said. "All the choices and sacrifices that you have been making are having a big impact. Please keep it up. I urge you to keep doing your part while crews are working around the clock to get our water service back up to regular levels."

Airdrie offers non-potable water to residents 

On Friday, the City of Airdrie announced that it has set up non-potable water tanks for watering plants, flowers and gardens at the Airdrie Recycle Depot. The City added that non-potable water from the tanks at the Recycle Depot will now be accessible during and outside depot hours via a connected hose placed outside the fence.

Residents are asked to bring their own buckets—up to five gallons—and fill them using the hose attached to the tanks. The non-potable water is for residential use only.

"This water is for plants, flower and garden use only. It is not safe for drinking or household use," The City underlined.

Airdrie's Recycle Depot is located at 21 East Lake Hill. The Depot is open Wednesday to Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed Monday and Tuesday. 

Airdrie and Calgary remain under water restrictions and fire ban 

Airdrie and Calgary remain under water restrictions and a fire ban. 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 rainwater.
  • 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.

"The fire ban will remain in effect until repairs to the broken water main pipe in Calgary are made and normal water consumption can resume," The City stated on June 6. 

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."

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