Water shortage threatens officials ability to fight fire emergencies

 LETHBRIDGE – The City of Lethbridge’s water shortage is also raising the alarm on fire crews’ ability to battle a serious fire emergency in the region.

City officials say fire crews’ capacity to battle an extreme fire emergency is limited due to the water shortage.

“The critical issue right now is we have very, very limited storage capacity in the reservoirs and our number one priority is to be able to fight a fire if we needed to in the community,” says City of Lethbridge Infanstructure Services Manager, Doug Hawkins.

The city is insisting the community respect their call for conservation and also reminding residents the region remains under a fire ban.

Director of Municipal Services, Kevin Viergutz, says they just can’t afford to be using water to battle a blaze right now.

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“We have Chinook winds blowing, dry situations, so no fires please,” he urges residents.

During normal operations the water treatment plant stores roughly 90 million liters of water for domestic use, and more than half of that is put aside for fire protection.

As of Thursday morning, the water treatment plant had just over 30 million liters.

While officials say the situation is critical they add there’s no reason for residents to panic.

“The fire protection is still available.  There is enough capacity in the reservoirs not just in the city but surrounding communities like Coaldale and Coalhurst to fight a fire under normal conditions,” Hawkins says.

The boil water advisory and fire ban will remain in effect until further notice.

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