With an outdoor watering ban continuing in Airdrie, 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.

"The first day on Thursday, because the restrictions were quite new, [there] wasn't quite as significant reduction here. But certainly, over the weekend, we've been seeing, a reduction in water consumption around that 25 per cent; that's how calculating the 21 per cent average reduction overall."

Lund also spoke about the city's initiative of reaching out to the top 100 water users in the city. 

"The ones that I did speak to and the feedback that I received from other people here at the city, who were part of the team that was reaching out to them; they very understanding of the situation, and they were certainly going to be making some adjustments to their water usage wherever possible."

City officials added that on Sunday, there were a total of nine complaints regarding the water ban, seven of those complaints pertained to residents watering, while two more were for hot tub filling.

Airdrie continues to be under level four water restrictions and a fire ban. 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.

Calgary Mayor applauds residents for water conservation; thought efforts must continue

Earlier in the day, the Calgary Mayor, Jyoti Gondek had said that there was good news for the city's residents in terms of water conservation.

"While you used [preliminary figure] of 457 million litres, the supply that we had available is 620 million litres. That's as of this morning.  Wednesday, before the break happened, we were consuming 650 million litres; we have a very significant reduction in water usage," she said.

She asked Calgarians to continue conserving water, as city crews work around the clock to repair the water main break in the city's northwest.

"Please keep this up. The reason that we have to have this extra supply on hand is also for any emergencies that we might face that the Calgary Fire Department has to deal with. I am incredibly impressed with how well Calgarians have done."

The latest update from City of Calgary officials 

The City of Calgary officials on Monday provided an update on the ongoing repair work but did not offer any amended timelines for when water restrictions would be lifted. Previously, on Saturday, Water Services Director Nancy Mackay, estimated it could take up to to a week before the situation is resolved.

Chris Huston, Manager of Drinking Water distribution with the City of Calgary said that on Sunday crews removed a section of the pipe.

"There's two pipe links that were being removed, we had to cut some holes out so we could maneuver the pipe to get it out. Then we have two additional pieces to remove, which are already out; they've just removed the second piece there," he said. "And then while this piece was out, we were able to get an inspection tool. This tool has a camera, [and] it creates a magnetic field when it goes to the pipe."

Huston explained that the camera would allow crews to understand the current conditions of the pipe.

"... The current condition of the metallic portions of the pipe, which would be those pre-stressed wires and the steel can so an opportunity like this doesn't come along very often. We wanted to use it to get an inspection tool in there. It's completed its initial inspection and we'll have the information back on that later."

He added that crews need to know whether the adjacent pieces of pipe are also damaged in any way before taking further steps.

"Do we have to remove another piece of pipe or not? We're waiting for that analysis, as we get the remaining pipe out. We're also we're building out the timeline for what this looks like. Once we get the new pipe in, and then we've got to start filling the pipe and get everything back in service. We've got that plan drafted and we're looking at what that's going to look like."

Hudson underlined that the priority is to have everything returned to service in a safe way, to maintain safe and reliable drinking water.  

Previous maintenance on the pipe addressed

Hudson also answered questions surrounding maintenance work that had been done on the pipe in April and whether that work was in any way related to the current issue. Huston said that in April, a segment of the pipe was shut down for routine maintenance, though the previous segment is not the segment that is being worked on now. 

"... It was for routine maintenance, to replace some air valves that are on that pipe and air valves that are on the main to release air that gets into the pipe. We did that work back in April and put the pipe back in service; we had a plan to shut it down again in December to do in another segment," he explained. "Then of course we had this break and we're doing some of that work now so it's an opportunity to get some of the more difficult-to-access maintenance work done while this pipe is shut off. We're working on there's an access point and a couple more air valves that we've got to get done and we're doing that in conjunction with the work that we're doing now.

The main break occurred 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.

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