Calgary water restrictions to last up to 5 more weeks, more repairs to water main needed

Click to play video: 'Calgary water main break: More damage found, water restrictions to last 3-5 more weeks'
Calgary water main break: More damage found, water restrictions to last 3-5 more weeks
WATCH: Calgarians can expect to live with water restrictions for another three to five weeks after more damage was found on a broken feeder main during inspection. Tomasia DaSilva reports. – Jun 14, 2024

Water restrictions in Calgary are set to remain in place for up to five more weeks, as crews working to repair the water feeder main discovered more locations than need to be repaired.

At a briefing late Friday afternoon, Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the pipe was examined on both sides of the section that is currently being fixed , and crews discovered five more locations that need urgent repairs.

Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Susan Henry said water restrictions will be needed for at least three to five more weeks.

“This decision was not made lightly,” said Henry. “We cannot take the chance of further pipe breaks on the long term sustainability of this pipe.”

“I know it’s hard and you’ve already given up a lot, and the thought of three to five more weeks is almost unbearable. Please know we are thinking about how this will impact all of us but we cannot take chances where life safety is concerned.”

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Crews in Calgary work on a water main break, as five new locations are in need of repairs. Kevin Billo/Global News

Henry said city experts believe the pipe break was the most dramatic and traumatic they had ever seen.

“We have begun preparations to bring in as many redundant parts and to put personnel and equipment on standby to make sure that we’re in a position to address any issues quickly and keep the water supply that we have currently have,” she said.

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“We need to double down and get this job done.”

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Henry said city officials have also started speaking to businesses to address their water use.

“We cannot expect residents alone to be in this situation and our outreach teams have been in touch with more than 7,000 customers to reduce their water use,” she added.

A sign outside the Lakeview Golf Course in southwest Calgary.
A sign outside the Lakeview Golf Course in southwest Calgary, June 14, 2024. Global News

The city’s capital priorities and investments director Francois Bouchart said further inspection of the feeder main discovered damage to steel wires that are wrapped in an inner layer of the concrete pipe, which provided structural stability.

These hotspots are located southeast of the current break, before the Shaganappi Pump Station in Edworthy Park.

“We have discovered five hotspots where significant wire breakage has occurred and require critical and urgent repair,” he said.

Crews are expected to be working to repair the feeder main in northwest Calgary for up to five more weeks. Global News

Bouchart said restoring the water without fixing the other locations creates a high risk that another catastrophic break could occur.

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“Our assessment shows the hotspots cannot safely withstand the amount of pressure we need to run through the feeder main,” he said.

Crews are now draining water from an additional section of the feeder main, to check if there are any more hotspots that will need urgent repairs.

“I know that means asking all of us to keep our water use lower than usual, it also means we have identified potential issues that could have led to another unexpected break,” added Gondek.

With water restrictions expected to extend through to the middle of July, Henry said Calgary Stampede officials have begun working on contingency plans.

“It’s too early to project what will occur.”

In a statement to Global News, the Calgary Stampede said “we will continue to work with our partners at the City of Calgary and the Calgary Emergency Management Agency as this situation evolves.”

The Stampede takes place between July 5-14.

For the latest updates from the City of Calgary, you can follow the city’s social media channels or click on its website here.

For the latest Alberta Emergency Alerts, you can click on the province’s website here.


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