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Calgary officials monitor water usage during heat wave

Calgary officials monitor water usage during heat wave
Calgary officials monitor water usage during heat wave

With Calgary experiencing a heat wave this week, city officials say they are closely monitoring water usage.

The City of Calgary said in an update Tuesday that efforts to stabilize the water system following the Bearspaw South main break more than a month ago are ongoing. However, more time is needed before restrictions on outdoor water can be further eased.

“This continues to be a supply and demand issue,” Ryan Kidd, deputy director of Water Services, said in a statement. “So far, the pipe has been able to handle the increased pressure, but we are not yet able to deliver enough water to reduce (restrictions) any more than we have been able to do so far.”

The feeder main that broke on June 5 along 16 Avenue NW is now operating at 55 percent of normal capacity. So far, it has successfully handled an increase in water pressure.

Additionally, the warm weather this week has led to an increase in water usage, and the city says its system has been able to meet demand so far, using 540 million gallons of water on Monday, up from 507 million gallons on Sunday.

“We will be monitoring demand over the next few days and expect it to increase as the weather warms,” Kidd said.

“We are confident we can meet the increased demand with the current restrictions, and we continue to look for ways to safely increase water flow through the main and expand our supply.”

Calgary’s Outdoor water restrictions have been reduced on Saturday, when the city moved from Phase 4 to Phase 3.

Phase 3 means that residents can fill containers with drinking water and water their lawns, shrubs or gardens in any way they like. However, using a hose or sprinkler is still prohibited. A full list of restrictions in Phase 3 can be found here.

Spray parks and public outdoor pools were exempted from restrictions and began reopening Saturday for safety reasons ahead of the warm weather. Filling private backyard pools remains restricted.

Last weekend, the ban on burning was also lifted. The city indicated that they are confident that there is enough water in the system to deal with any emergency.

The city says it will resume daily afternoon updates at 2 p.m. Wednesday.