July 16th, 2024

Mayor thanks Calgary for conserving water again after use creeped up over past week

By The Canadian Press on June 29, 2024.

A day after chiding some Calgarians for appearing to abandon water conservation as the city works to get a busted feeder main operating again, Mayor Jyoti Gondek thanked residents for doing a better job. Gondek listens during an announcement of the signing of agreements on the new NHL arena deal in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY – A day after chiding some Calgarians for appearing to abandon water conservation as the city works to get a busted feeder main operating again, Mayor Jyoti Gondek thanked residents for doing a better job.

Gondek told an online update Saturday the city used 460 million litres of water on Friday, which she says is 23 per cent than what it typically consumes.

It was a different story on Friday, when Gondek warned daily water usage crept up the entire week, and that Thursday’s use was 500 million litres — the highest since the city imposed its mix of voluntary and mandatory restrictions.

She re-emphasized the importance of conserving water to ensure enough is available for firefighting and hospitals.

The pipeline break and five other problem areas have been fixed and crews were to finish pumping millions of litres of water through 4.5 kilometres of replacement pipe Friday night.

Gondek says filling the feeder main has been completed and crews were flushing the system Saturday, which will be followed with testing of the water by Alberta Health Services and a gradual restoration to regular pressure.

“If you’ve ever had an invasive surgery or you know someone that has had one, you know that after the final stitches are done, there is still post-operative care that takes place,” Gondek said in Saturday’s video.

“Just because you’ve had your stitches done doesn’t mean that the journey is over.”

She said at this point, the worksites have been “stitched up,” back-filled and paved over, and water crews are now doing that “post-op care.”

Michael Thompson, Calgary’s general manager of infrastructure services, told a media briefing later Saturday that while acoustic and pressure monitoring have not identified any areas of concern on the pipe, there could still be problems once flushing is finished and crews restore pressure to the system.

“We’re proceeding with caution and care. Our team is continuing to closely monitor, and is prepared to respond should we encounter any setbacks,” Thompson said.

Gondek said that as part of the flushing process, people may see water draining out hydrants and valves. She said the water is being de-chlorinated before being returned into the river system.

She also noted Saturday that there is a 24-hour turnaround for water-quality testing.

Almost every day since the June 5 pipe break, Gondek has asked Calgary’s 1.6 million residents and those in surrounding communities to restrict their indoor water use by flushing their toilets less often, taking three-minute showers and doing fewer loads of laundry.

Outdoor water use has been banned. Residents have been encouraged to rely on rainwater for their gardens.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2024.

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