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Risk of blue-green algae, dry conditions continue water conservation concerns in Moncton area

Click to play video 'Moncton residents conserving water to avoid blue-green algae bloom risk' Moncton residents conserving water to avoid blue-green algae bloom risk
WATCH: Moncton residents are still being asked to conserve water to help mitigate the risk of a blue-green algae bloom in one of the area's main reservoirs. It’s an issue across the province due to dry conditions and low water levels. Callum Smith has more.

People in the Moncton area are still being asked to conserve water to help mitigate the “high risk” of a blue-green algae bloom in one of the area’s main reservoirs.

A special council meeting is scheduled for Monday for the first reading of a water by-law amendment. Details of the meeting are unclear at this time but water concerns span across the province, thanks to dry conditions and low water levels.

The Department of Environment and Local Government issued a news release in early July urging people to conserve water.

“We continue to recommend that people restrict water use,” Jean Bertin, a department spokesperson said in an email Friday.

Read more: Moncton area urged to conserve water, mitigate high risk of blue-green algae bloom in reservoir

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Among the suggestions from the province, washing vehicles; watering lawns; not filling swimming pools; using washers and dishwashers for full loads only — these are all ways you can conserve water.

In Moncton, the bodies of water at Jones Lake, Irishtown Nature Park and Centennial Park are all closed to recreational activities due to blue-green algae concerns.

Among the measures taken, the city says it has cut back on how much it waters sports fields by more than 25 per cent.

Moncton Fire Chief Conrad Landry said they’ve suspended all training that involves water, and are only washing trucks when they’re heavily exposed to smoke.
Moncton Fire Chief Conrad Landry said they’ve suspended all training that involves water, and are only washing trucks when they’re heavily exposed to smoke. Callum Smith / Global News

All splash pads, with the exception of the one in Centennial Park, have been shut down.

Despite the overcast day on Friday, a couple kids were still enjoying themselves.

“The water’s actually not too bad,” says nine-year-old Dylan.

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Click to play video 'N.B. boater says water levels at worst this year due to dry weather' N.B. boater says water levels at worst this year due to dry weather
N.B. boater says water levels at worst this year due to dry weather

“Once you get used to the water, it’s not really that cold,” says seven-year-old Sawyer.

Moncton Fire Chief Conrad Landry says they’ve suspended all training that involves water, and are only washing trucks when they’re heavily exposed to smoke.

But Landry says grass fires kept them busy — and using a lot of water — at the start of the summer.

“June was very, very busy, abnormally busy for that,” he says.

Read more: Dried up wells and lack of rainfall spark calls for wider drinking water relief distribution

Since then, Landry says it was a fairly average summer, with the exception of the last few weeks.

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“Lately, we’ve had quite a few structure fires,” he says.

Landry says improperly discarded smoking materials and kitchen grease fires remain the top causes of structure fires.

While every fire is different, firefighters can typically use between 2,000-3,000 gallons of water to extinguish them, Landry tells Global News.

The Turtle Creek reservoir is the main water supply for Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe
The Turtle Creek reservoir is the main water supply for Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe. Callum Smith / Global News

But, the fires all need to be put out regardless.

“The sooner we can be there, the less water it’s going to take,” Landry says. “So we still encourage people to call 911 as soon as possible.”

No one from the City of Moncton was available to give us an update on the reservoir. However, a spokesperson says there has been a decrease in consumption. But a lack of precipitation certainly isn’t helping.

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More information and data is expected to be released Monday.