Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown is continuing to ask residents to abide by the level four water restrictions that Airdrie is under, due to a massive water main break that occurred in Calgary earlier this week.

Mayor Brown spoke to DiscoverAirdrie, stressing the seriousness of the situation to residents.

"This is about how much water the two [water] treatment facilities [in Calgary] can bring forward; clean potable water," he said. "If we consume more than they produce, that's where the problem lies. If everyone can remember if you're going to wash your hands, don't put the jets on, do a little bit of a medium trickle. If you're washing your dishes, fill up a little bit in your sink and use a brush to clean it off. [It's] little simple things like that. Absolutely no outdoor watering."

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

  • 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.

On Friday morning, Airdrie city officials said that water quality remains safe and Airdrie Water Services staff continue to monitor it very closely.

"The pool and arenas in Airdrie will remain closed over the weekend," a brief update stated.

This morning, Calgary city officials said that progress is being made as crews continue repairing a large water main break in the Bowness and Montgomery area, in northwest Calgary.

"Crews reached the damaged section of the critical water main yesterday and overnight continued clearing water, dirt and debris to assess the site of the leak. This critical water transmission line has severely impacted the supply in Calgary’s reservoirs and the ability to move water across the city," a city release stated.

Today, crews are preparing the feeder main for inspection to determine the next steps and expect to begin cutting out the damaged section of the pipe.

"We are making good progress, however, it’s important to know this is a complex process and I want Calgarians to be prepared and understand that it will take some time to complete this repair," said Water Services Director Nancy Mackay.

Mackay estimates it may take up to a week before the situation is resolved. Despite the progress being made to start repairing the break, Calgarians and Airdronians are being asked to continue doing their part to reduce water use.

"There are still many unknowns, and we want to ensure we take the time to do this right."

Mayor Brown did, however, commend residents, saying that after pleas from both the City of Calgary and Airdrie officials, there was a 25 per cent reduction in the use of water this morning. 

"We can't thank you enough for doing your part to make certain that we don't have challenges with the system," Mayor Brown said. "I'm just thrilled that people have been doing their part. Airdrie has always been a community that looks out for one another and this is one of those situations where it's imperative."

He underlined that if residents do see that water restrictions are being broken, it's about education and not confrontation.

"You're welcome to educate them... but phone [Municipal] enforcement, they'll come over; we're not here to fine people, we're here to just share it," he added.

In response to questions from residents, Mayor Brown also clarified the difference between potable and non-potable water.

"You've probably seen several trucks that may be doing dust control around the city, but [they are] marked [with a sign that says] recycled water or non-potable water. I suspect that with the amount of plants that we have in the community, you're going to see us filling up with non-potable water to water some of our areas that need irrigation," he explained. "We can get that through the Town of Crossfield and we can get that through Rockyview [County]."

Crossfield is unaffected by the water restrictions as the town's water is not connected to Calgary. Rocky View County is also unaffected by the water restrictions. However, both Airdrie, Calgary, and Rocky View County are under fire bans. 

"We need to make sure that we're doing everything possible to mitigate any kind of fires in the community."

As far as car washing operations are concerned, Mayor Brown stressed that many car washes recycle up to 80 per cent of their wastewater.

"We've had several car washes in our community volunteer to shut down; that's pretty amazing when you think about that, and that meets the target of the 25 per cent or exceeds it. All of our top 100 users in the city that use water: the top two got visits from our staff and the other ones received formal letters. Right now, [do] whatever you can do to save every single drop."

Calgary officials have also echoed the message of a continued need for water conservation.

"As Calgarians enjoy the weekend, we remind you we have an active fire ban in place to prevent any unnecessary fires," said Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief, Sue Henry.

"This allows for our Fire Department to ensure they have water available for any critical firefighting work. Since Thursday, we’ve received 300 calls on water misuse, the majority of those have been resolved. We’ve also received 23 calls related to the fire ban that we are following up on," Henry added.

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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