Calgary water main repairs halted, Gondek demands further water control

Repairs on Calgary’s water main were abruptly halted early Thursday morning after two workers sustained injuries.

Calgary water main repairs halted, Gondek demands further water control

Both of the workers are now in the hospital, but neither are in critical condition.

Following the injuries, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek provided an update, giving her condolences to the workers and asking Calgarians to reduce their water use even more.

“Our hearts are heavy with the news of these injuries this morning,” Gondek said before adding, “I now must ask you to do more on your water conservation to support those that are working to restore our safe water supply.”

Just yesterday, Gondek asked Calgarians to do the same, saying that while Calgarians have already reduced their water well below what’s necessary while repairs are being done, she was concerned by a brief rise in use.

“We — you and I — need to keep reducing our water usage,” Gondek said Wednesday after reporting that the amount of water being used by the city had risen from 440 million litres to 480 million litres.

To put this in perspective, Calgarians regularly use 650 million litres per day, while following the water main break, the city’s total capacity is 615 million litres per day.

Still, Gondek said the trend is “not great”.

“We can see water usage is creeping up. This gradual increase is certainly becoming a concern,” she said. “I know it’s tough to watch your clothes pile up, and I know it’s tough to look in the mirror sometimes and see some sad, droopy hair, but it’s critical.”

Current water restrictions

In terms of restrictions, while the repairs are being done, Calgarians can no longer water lawns or gardens; fill outdoor pools or hot tubs; wash outdoor surfaces, including windows, sidewalks, driveways, etc.; fill fountains; wash cars in their driveways; or use water for construction purposes.

A fine of $3,000 awaits anyone who violates these restrictions.

Additionally, Calgary City Council is asking people to take additional measures to reduce indoor water use, such as taking shorter or intermittent showers, reducing toilet flushes, intermittently turning off the tap during activities like washing dishes or brushing teeth, and reducing the amount of laundry done.

Temporary restrictions leading to long-term control

While the current restrictions on outdoor water use may be understandable given the situation, Gondek’s City Council has revealed that they plan to control individuals’ water use permanently, using the current crisis to achieve their goal of a 30% water reduction within 30 years.

Calgary’s committee is bringing these changes in by making subtle tweaks to existing bylaws. If the City Council approves the changes, Calgarians will only be allowed to use their sprinklers during pre-designated times and days, with more regulations soon to follow.

They plan to vote on these changes next Tuesday.

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