Timeline for easing Calgary water restrictions to be announced Tuesday

City of Calgary officials are expected to provide a timeline Tuesday for when restrictions on outdoor water use might be lifted. They are also expected to discuss when Calgarians might be able to stop restricting their indoor water use.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek spoke in her daily afternoon update on the ongoing water supply crisis on Monday, highlighting efforts to restore normal water supply following a catastrophic water main burst last month.

She said monitoring of the stabilization phase, the final step in the water restoration process, will continue overnight.

“We are not yet at the point where we can lift the outdoor water restrictions or fire bans, but we should know more tomorrow morning about how long we need to conserve water indoors,” Gondek said Monday.

The mayor’s daily morning update has been moved from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday to give officials more time to analyze information about how the system is performing. Gondek will also be joined by Ric McIver, the province’s minister of municipal affairs.

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“We need to continue with water conservation measures until we know we have the all-clear. We are so close,” she said Monday.

Calgary residents are being urged to continue conserving water as authorities share details Tuesday about when restrictions will be lifted.

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The repaired section of the water pipe that broke on June 5 was reconnected to the rest of the distribution network on Sunday.

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“We have been slowly increasing the amount of water flowing from the Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant through the main line to the rest of the network,” said Michael Thompson, the city’s general manager of infrastructure services.

“At the moment, the main supply line is carrying approximately half of its maximum capacity.”

Thompson added that the performance of the water system is being continuously monitored and there are no indications of further problems.

Officials said the increased flow of water through the main has caused some cloudiness and turbidity, but assured Calgary residents the water is safe to drink.

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“We know that some customers see cloudy water when they turn on their tap,” said Francois Bouchart, the city’s director of capital priorities and investments. “This is just an aesthetic issue, and drinking water is still safe to consume.”

“While this water is safe to drink and the turbidity is not unexpected, we want to continue to monitor the performance of our system today and tonight,” Thompson said Monday.

Crew performs rescue in the water

Calgary Emergency Management Agency Director Sue Henry praised one of the crews working on the Bow River water recovery process after they rescued a group of people who had gotten into trouble on the water.

Henry said a raft carrying a large group of people hit a pillar and capsized on Sunday.

Three crew members who were nearby threw ropes to people in the water and jumped into the river to pull others to safety.

“We can’t thank these crew members enough. What they did was nothing short of heroic and inspiring,” Henry said.

“Knowing that these three crew members – who were working in this emergency – stepped up to help others is what makes this city great and what makes our country great.”

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Cam Green

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