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Calgary water conservation progress made as crews repair water main break: officials

CALGARY 鈥 Calgary's water conservation efforts have improved but there's still a "high risk" of running dry as crews continue to repair a major water main break over the next five to seven days, city officials said Saturday.
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Calgarians are being urged to keep reducing their water use as work to repair a major water main stretches into a second day in Calgary, Friday, June 7, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY 鈥 Calgary's water conservation efforts have improved but there's still a "high risk" of running dry as crews continue to repair a major water main break over the next five to seven days, city officials said Saturday.

"Calgarians did some excellent work over the past 24 hours," water services director Nancy Mackay told a news conference providing an update on the situation.

She said water supply and demand have mostly evened out, but residents have to continue limiting their indoor water use and refraining from outdoor use altogether.

"Keep doing what you've been doing," Mackay told Calgarians. "There's still a high risk that we can run out of water if we don't continue."

Calgary was put under a water emergency after a major feeder main in the city's northwest fractured Wednesday night, flooding streets and reducing water levels.

The city鈥檚 manager of drinking water distribution, Chris Huston, said crews have made "significant progress" on repairs but work is expected to continue for another five to seven days 鈥 if all goes well.

"There are still many unknowns," including the exact cause of the break, he said. "We weren't expecting something like this to happen."

Huston said crews pumped out water and cleared debris from the site, and were preparing the feeder main for inspection so that the damaged section of pipe can be cut out.

A fire ban remains in place and outdoor water use is currently not allowed. Calgarians are being urged to limit their showers, dish washing and even toilet flushing whenever possible.

Demand for water has been reduced to 484 million litres a day and the target is 480 million litres, Mackay said. She said crews were able to fill the city's reservoirs with treated water overnight, which puts the water supply in a more sustainable position at the moment.

The neighbourhood of Bowness remains under a boil-water advisory.

The city said it has been fielding about 30 to 40 calls per hour about the water situation and is urging residents to be patient while calling the 311 service.

It also said it has issued 61 warnings so far about water misuse and is prepared to step up enforcements if people don't follow the rules.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press