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Airdrie water consumption drops by 21%

The City of Calgary is working with Airdrie to reduce its overall water consumption by 25 per cent.
Section of pipe removed by City of Calgary staff.

Since level four water restrictions were implemented on June 6, the City of Airdrie’s average water consumption has dropped by 21 per cent.

The City of Airdrie monitors its water usage through controls in its water distribution system, said Eugene Lund, Airdrie’s manager of utility operations.

The City of Calgary is working with Airdrie to reduce its overall water consumption by 25 per cent.

“We're continuing to work on that,” Lund said, urging the community to keep working with the City to reduce their water consumption in the short term.

While the drop in water usage wasn’t substantial on Thursday, as messaging spread City staff has seen positive numbers over the weekend.

“That 21 per cent average drop is just based on all of those numbers just taken into account over the last five days here now,” Lund said.

Lund thanked the community for their assistance and the positive response.

“We would just ask for their continued cooperation here over the next few days until Calgary has had a chance to fully complete the repairs on that line and put it back into service,” Lund said.

Pieces of the pipe were removed yesterday and an inspection tool was used inside the pipe.

Chris Huston, manager of drinking water distribution with the City of Calgary, said they are analyzing if any of the adjacent pieces of pipe are damaged in any way before they close it back up. The section with the hole was removed as well as an adjacent section that showed some stress in its wires.

Calgary is working on a timeline of replacing the pipe, filling it back up, testing the water, and bringing it back into service.

Huston explained that back in April a different segment of the same pipe was shut down for routine maintenance to replace air valves on the pipe. Another shutdown was planned in December for another segment, which is being done now.

While it remains unclear how many complaints or restriction violations the City of Airdrie has received since they went into effect on Thursday, Calgary reported on their calls.

Since the fire ban was put in place in Calgary, they received 109 calls about fire pits, which is an increase of the average calls, according to Sue Henry, Calgary’s emergency management agency chief. Calgary bylaw received 815 calls with 311 about water misuse since the level four restrictions. Calgary has put out 114 verbal warnings, 176 written warnings, and one ticket to a construction contractor.

The City of Airdrie has yet to report on these numbers.

Officials noted there was another small break in the Bowness neighbourhood of Calgary not related to the feeder main break. City of Calgary Water Services Director Nancy Mackay said small breaks are not unusual and typically Calgary sees 200 main breaks every year.

“Calgary’s main break count is lower than the municipal average that is reported,” said Mackay.

The cause of the main break remains unknown, but Mackay assured the public it is something they are investigating.

Stage 4 outdoor water restrictions remain in effect in the City of Calgary, as well as the City of Airdrie. Calgary, Airdrie, and Rocky View County also remain under a fire ban.

Masha Scheele

About the Author: Masha Scheele

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