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OPINION: Water problems not a 'hoax'

Curiosity got the best of me, so I went digging for what the conspiracy theorists were spouting off in such a critical situation.

The City of Airdrie, like our southern neighbour, has been under a level four water restriction since last Thursday morning following a massive failure in Calgary’s water infrastructure. Compounded by the drought conditions plaguing the province, there is additional urgency to conserve water.

Most people have been doing their part in cutting back, like skipping laundry day, minimizing their showers, and even using their grey water for their outdoor gardens. According to Mayor Peter Brown, the City of Airdrie has reduced its water usage by an average of 25 per cent since the break.

Yet, some people think it’s all a hoax. 

Curiosity got the best of me, so I went digging for what the conspiracy theorists were spouting off in such a critical situation where people could instead work together for everyone’s benefit.

Some online claims state there is no water break at all, despite images of streets flooded and many nearby residents who can speak from experience about having no access to water and were under a boil water advisory until recently.

Due to the growing population, some conspiracies claim this is a way to condition Calgarians for continued water conservation. 

Others claim the water break was meant to push water restrictions after the “drought narrative was ruined” by the recent rain. Those who believe the drought is only a recent narrative must not have been paying attention to any of the farmers who struggled over the past three or four years.

Earlier this year, I interviewed a southwest Rocky View County (RVC) rancher who was forced to cut his herd by half over the past few years as there wasn’t enough feed available. Another interview with a north east RVC crop farmer revealed his yield had been reduced for years due to very low residual moisture levels. 

While it may be easy to brush off drought concerns in the city as a hoax, those working the fields have been facing its reality for years. One rancher said earlier this year that it’s the worst drought he’s experienced as a rancher.

People are clinging onto their conspiracy theories for comfort likely because they want answers. Some blame Calgary’s Mayor Jyoti Gondek while others blame Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Read as many conspiracy theories as you like, but why not do it while also conserving water in case this thing isn’t a hoax?

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