Calgary issues water reduction advisory ahead of possible restrictions

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City of Calgary issues water reduction advisory ahead of possible restrictions
WATCH: As the province announces a new water-sharing agreement to respond to the risk of a severe drought, Calgary issues a water reduction advisory and says it will comply with a five to 10 per cent reduction if restrictions are needed. Doug Vaesen reports – Apr 19, 2024

The City of Calgary says it should have no problem supporting the province’s mandate that municipalities reduce consumption by five to 10 per cent if or when restrictions come.

Nicole Newton, manager of natural environment and adaption with the City of Calgary, said Calgarians now face a water reduction advisory and should immediately start conserving water inside and outside of their homes.

“Only water early in the morning and in the evening to help make every drop count,” Newton said. “And start watering to a maximum of four hours a week.”

Garden experts like Colin Atter, owner of Plantation Garden Centre, said that shouldn’t be much of a hardship. Garden lovers can easily buy drought-resistant plants and use mulch and peat moss to beat the heat.

“So far, what I hear is they will start with hand watering restrictions, it will be level one, I assume. You can water pretty much most of your water by hand anyways.”

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As for your lawn, Atter said pray for rain.

“Put up with some brown lawn. It’s totally fine, it will come back.”

Click to play video: '‘Every drop counts’: Calgary launches water conservation plan'
‘Every drop counts’: Calgary launches water conservation plan

Calgarians have heard about conserving water and potential restrictions for months. Most say they are ready.

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Sean Ceguzman, who out for a bike ride with his infant daughter, said water reduction is already happening at his home. Reducing use by 10 per cent should be achievable.

“I think so, yeah. Like I said, in our personal household we try to be mindful and not over consume, not just water but anything. But I think it’s doable.”

Gordon Cope said it’s not too much to ask.

“It’s very important to support agriculture in Alberta. And if we can do anything in our cities to cut down on our use then that helps them.”

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The city agrees, but Newton admits last year’s restrictions didn’t quite go far enough.

“Last year when we enacted stage one outdoor water restrictions we were able to reduce about four per cent and we are confident we can get that five to 10 per cent when those agreements are  enacted.”

But this year, Newton said manmade lakes won’t be allowed to use any city water.

That could hurt, said Sally Lockhart, general manager of the Mahogany Homeowners Association.

Lockhart said Mahogany Lake, at 64 acres, is the biggest manmade lake in the city. It will be full by the end of May, likely before restrictions are put in place. But a hot, dry summer could prove extremely costly.

“Hopefully we can actually survive through that restriction time but if it gets to a point the lake level gets too low and it starts impacting the liner, we don’t know what potential damage that can do or anything like that. So if we were to get to that situation we would have to have a conversation with the city.”

In June, the city said it will also bring forward changes to the Water Utility Bylaw, and update the drought response: introducing a permanent and staged outdoor watering schedule to help ensure Calgary will always do its part.


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