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Final notes on Airdrie's water crisis

Since the level four water restrictions were implemented on June 6, Airdrie averaged a water consumption reduction of 26.3 per cent from normal consumption.
An old four-inch cast iron pipe caused a major water main break on Feb. 3 and is another issue added to the growing list of water infrastructure concerns in the village.

Airdrie residents are allowed to haul water into their gardens using handheld containers as of July 6, but that doesn’t mean the water restrictions are over.

Airdrie spent one month under a level four outdoor water restrictions, plus indoor water conservation measures, due to a broken water main in Calgary affecting the availability of water. 

During that time Airdrie bylaw received 133 complaints from residents about restriction violations. Municipal Enforcement Officer, Sgt. Brad Tomlinson, explained they followed up on each complaint and provided education for roughly the first two weeks. After that, they switched to written warnings, of which 28 were made.

Tomlinson said some complaints were unfounded and not all complaints meant people had violated the restrictions. There were no repeat complaints, he added.

Since the level four water restrictions were implemented on June 6, Airdrie averaged a water consumption reduction of 26.3 per cent from normal consumption.

“Our largest single day reduction was 37.1 per cent,” said Eugene Lund, manager of utility operations at the City of Airdrie. “These reductions are being calculated against what our water consumption was on Wednesday June 5, 2024, which was the last full day of unrestricted water consumption for Airdrie.”

On July 2, indoor water conservation measures were eased while Calgary stabilized its water distribution system. 

Then on July 6, the outdoor water restriction dropped from Level four to Level three. While using a handheld watering container is now allowed, the use of outdoor sprinklers remains restricted. The watering of new grass planting and bulk water sales for the purposes of construction, including grading, compaction, and dust control is also allowed.

The easing of indoor restrictions also means businesses that require water to run their operations could get back to normal. The owner of Airdrie Laundromat said the City of Airdrie told them during the restrictions they could only wash essentials.

He added that not many people were doing their washing in the last month, but since indoor restrictions were lifted, his laundromat has been busy every day. Financially, he said it won’t take long to recover as they still had some customers throughout the past month and many others have returned since.

“The City of Airdrie wants to thank businesses for doing their part during the restrictions,” said Sara Chamberlain, Economic Development Team Leader at the City of Airdrie. “Over the last month, we were in touch with many businesses who were very accommodating and made adjustments to their daily practices in order to reduce their consumption.”

The City reopened the Chinook Winds spray park on July 7, stating the overall water usage is minimal due to its recirculation system and it provides a reprieve for residents on warm days, especially since outdoor sprinklers are still restricted. The system still requires potable water to compensate for water loss due to evaporation, spillage onto landscaping and to backwash the filtration system. The facility uses approximately 450 cubic meters of water annually.

At the same time, Airdrie’s Fire Advisory was lifted due to recent rainfall and improved conditions. 

To read more about Airdrie’s water consumption, go to airdrie.ca.


Masha Scheele

About the Author: Masha Scheele

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