Residents in communities surrounding Edmonton concerned about effects of water shortage

Click to play video: 'Residents in surrounding Edmonton communities concerned about water shortage'
Residents in surrounding Edmonton communities concerned about water shortage
Communities from far outside the Edmonton region are feeling trickle down effects of the non-essential water ban. People in rural towns are also facing restrictions, but getting the water is proving much more difficult. Jasmine King explains – Jan 31, 2024

An equipment failure at one of Edmonton’s two water treatment plants continues to concern residents in several communities surrounding Edmonton.

The failure prompted EPCOR and surrounding municipalities to issue a ban on non-essential water use on Monday afternoon.

The plant provides water not just for the city of Edmonton, but several surrounding communities, including Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Leduc, Beaumont, Fort Saskatchewan and Morinville.

“It would have affected us if it was closed,” said Jo-Anne Nitsche, who was filling jugs of drinking water at a truck-fill station in Beaver County. “We would have had to start drinking our well water if the station was closed and that doesn’t taste good.”

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Nitsche said she received one email from the county informing her of the water ban.

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“I’ve been here for 35 years and I’ve never heard of not getting water,” said Nitsche’s husband Lothar.

“Since Monday we’ve been restricted,” Brian Ducherer, chair of the Highway 14 Regional Water Commission. “We made the decision to open all the truck-fills and allow all residents to fill two cubes per day which is about 2,000 litres.”

“We’ve been reduced before in our homes,” Ducherer said. “You just have (to) adjust and make sure you use less water, we’re OK because every town has a reservoir so we never run dry.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton city councillor wants explanation on non-essential water ban'
Edmonton city councillor wants explanation on non-essential water ban

The commission oversees the water supply from Epcor through Strathcona County and extending along Highway 14 including the municipality of Beaver County, the Town of Tofield, Village of Ryley, Village of Holden and the the Town of Viking. The commission also supplies water to the non-member municipalities of Strathcona County and Camrose County.

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“As soon as they turn it back on, we turn it back on,” continued Ducherer who added the commission has been told by Epcor that full water service will be restored on Sunday.

The city’s other plant — the Rossdale Water Treatment Plant — remains operational but Epcor said it cannot adequately supply the entire service area with normal water consumption.

The Town of Morinville said it would suspend sewer flushing, firefighter hydrant training, and other heavy water use activities.

The Town of Stony Plain said it would halt the flushing of watermains and sewers, as well as firefighting training, street sweeping, irrigation, flow tests, washing fleet vehicles (including buses) and and the operation of spray decks.

The City of Leduc said it would take similar measures, along with halting outdoor ice surface maintenance — saying all ice surfaces are closed.

Epcor said a pump issue occurred at the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant in southwest Edmonton, where water distribution has been halted.

On Tuesday, Epcor said the non-essential water ban remained in place and that it was expected to continue until mid-day Sunday, Feb. 4.

with files from Caley Gibson

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