Earlier this month, The City of Calgary announced that it would be implementing a Water Reductions Advisory, asking Calgarians to reduce their water use.

However, Eugene Lund, Manager of Utility Operations with The City of Airdrie said that Airdrie has not had many conversations with their Calgary counterparts on whether Airdrie will follow suit.

"What we have done is we have put out a notice to the businesses earlier this year about possible water reductions and we have also implemented the new watering schedule for irrigation," he added. "That being said, depending on how the situation with the drought progresses, it is a possibility that in relationship to the water use agreement that was recently announced by the province; we may have to put out additional advisories and restrictions." 

Recently, Airdrie City Council amended The City's Waterworks Bylaw. Lund said that one of the most important portions of the bylaw is the adjustments to the schedule for irrigating lawns. Other key changes include:

  • Expanded water conservation schedule: The previous three-level water restriction format has been expanded to a watering schedule plus a four-level restriction system, allowing for more precise adjustments based on current water supply conditions.
  • New watering schedule: To complement the revised water restrictions, a separate watering schedule has been introduced. This schedule is designed to optimize water usage without compromising the needs of Airdrie residents and businesses.
  • Increased flexibility for businesses: Modifications have been made to accommodate business operations more effectively. For instance, previous restrictions on window washers and other businesses that rely on significant water use have been adjusted to prevent the need to source water externally, until higher-level restrictions are called.
  • Special provisions for City services: The Parks Department has adapted its water usage strategy to ensure that sports fields are maintained adequately while reducing irrigation in less critical park green spaces.

When asked how The City will enforce the bylaw, a topic that was also previously discussed at council, Lund stressed that The City wants to work with the community and educate them on the changes.

"If we start to run into difficulties with that, that's certainly something that will need to be discussed with our team members in municipal enforcement," Lund added. 

As far as what Airdrie residents can do to conserve water, Lund said that the rain barrel program has seen continued success in Airdrie. 

"We've had a very high level of interest this year [in] residents acquiring rain barrels for personal use and to capture rainwater runoff. We're certainly committed to continuing that program this year and beyond."

According to the City of Airdrie's website, they have temporarily sold out of rain barrels, though the city website added that if residents place a purchase of rain barrels, they will be notified once stock arrives. Rain barrels are available for purchase year-round for Airdrie residents at $65, while non-Airdrie residents pay $75. 

According to the City of Calgary's water advisory, come June, The City will bring forward changes to the water utility bylaw and an update to Calgary’s drought response.

"This action will position The City to be more responsive to changing drought conditions. It will include introducing a permanent and staged outdoor watering schedule that will help support a transition to outdoor water restrictions. When the bylaw is passed, we plan to implement the appropriate watering schedule stage as soon as possible, working with Calgarians and businesses so they understand the requirements."

On April 19, the province announced that the largest water-sharing agreement in Alberta’s 118-year history was signed, with 38 of the largest and oldest water licensees in southern Alberta voluntarily agreeing to reduce the water they use if severe drought conditions develop this spring or summer.

"These groups represent up to 90 per cent of the water allocated in the Bow and Oldman basins and 70 per cent in the Red Deer River basin. The landmark agreements will let more Albertans access water in a drought and reduce the negative impacts on communities, the economy and the environment," the province stated.

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