In a Tuesday afternoon update on the water main break in Northwest Calgary, city officials said that water restrictions in the city, and communities reliant on Calgary's water supply, including Airdrie would likely continue for several more days.

"I want to restate that we are still asking Calgarians, as well as residents and businesses of Chestermere, Airdrie and Strathmore to help conserve water as the [Calgary] Mayor has outlined," stated Water Services Director, Nancy Mackay.

Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief, Sue Henry, said the current restrictions will likely remain in place until next week.

Mackay added that she could not share a definitive date for the restoration of service at this stage.

"Based on the information we have now, I expect to be able to share a closer date mid-next week. In the meantime, we've got some steps between us now," she said. "We need to install and weld the replacement pipe. That pipe is arriving this afternoon."

Mackay said the installation would take approximately two days, and then crews would need to fill and flush the feeder main.

"This means moving all the water out of the pipe, removing any sediment that may remain in that newly installed pipe. This pipe is pretty large; it will take up to three days to do that. Following that, we will ready the pipe and the city network for water to begin flowing again. That means we're going to be filling that pipe," Mackay stated. "This will take about two days and like all of our operations, we're continually doing water quality testing, which will be very important at that particular stage. While this is happening, we continue to compile and analyze the condition assessment information that we are gathering."

Once those steps are complete, city officials can share a timeline for when they're able to restore the city's water supply and phase out water restrictions as service is returned.

"We appreciate that this is longer than the minimum timelines -perhaps originally understood. We are proceeding with an abundance of caution. We want to make sure that this work is done right and it's done safely."

The City of Calgary has issued a graphic on the progress of repair work on the water main break that occured in the city's Northwest. (Graphic Credit to The City of CalgaryThe City of Calgary has issued a graphic on the progress of repair work on the water main break that occurred in the city's Northwest. (Graphic Credit to The City of Calgary)

Airdrie continues to be under level four water restrictions and a fire ban. Eugene Lund Manager of Utility Operations with The City of Airdrie said that there has been an overall 21 per cent average decrease in water consumption in Airdrie since level four water restrictions were implemented as a result of the water main break in Calgary.

During level four outdoor water restrictions, Airdrie residents are not allowed to:

  • Water lawns, gardens, trees, and shrubs by any method.
  • 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

There are no boil water advisories 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 being asked to reduce water use.
  • Businesses using water to deliver a product or service that is life-sustaining for people and animals are exempt. Other exemptions include any businesses that must use water to meet health code standards, such as health centres and restaurants.

The City of Calgary has also issued numerous water conservation tips including tips on using grey water.

Yesterday, following testing, the Boil Water Advisory for the community of Bowness was lifted. 

"Alberta Health Services (AHS) testing has confirmed that water in the community meets all water quality guidelines and standards and is safe for normal consumption. All residents and businesses in Bowness can consume their water from the tap, as boiling is no longer required," The City of Calgary previously stated.

The City made changes to deliver safe drinking water from the Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant to the community of Bowness by bypassing the damaged feeder main. 

The mandatory Stage four outdoor watering restrictions remain in place, as crews continue to work on the feeder main break near 16 Avenue Northwest and Home Road. A fire ban is still in effect for the City of Calgary.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek also underlined that things are still not back to normal, despite the Boil Water Advisory being lifted for the community of Bowness.

"I need you to keep up the good water-saving practices that we have been using," she said. "You have been doing an exceptional job at reducing your water consumption. I can tell you that each day, your efforts have managed to save us the equivalent of about 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of water and we're going to need to keep doing this for the coming days."

16 Avenue remains closed at Home Road Northwest.

"Commuters are advised to avoid the area as significant delays are expected."

The main break occurred last week, on Wednesday evening, and on Thursday morning an Alberta Emergency alert was issued, alerting residents of a water supply alert. The alert advisory remains in effect for all communities on Calgary's water supply, including Airdrie, Strathmore, and Chestermere.

According to Calgary city officials, city bylaw has issued 993 notices and resolved 898 of them. Of those resolved, we have issued 240 written warnings, provided 321 verbal warnings with an educational approach, and issued one ticket.

"In addition to the water restrictions, fire ban enforcement has issued 70 notices for active fire pits. Of those, 58 are resolved. We’ve issued nine written warnings. There have been 28 verbal warnings with an educational approach."

Regarding calls coming into 3-1-1, there have been 10,254 more calls into 3-1-1 over the last six days versus the same period in 2023. 

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