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Calgary balances risk of drought and flood but things ‘trending in the right direction’

Heavy rain in the Calgary region and throughout much of Southern Alberta on Tuesday was welcomed by many.

An official with the City of Calgary said that staff are monitoring the forecast to balance the risks of drought and flood moving forward, but added that things “seem to be trending in the right direction.”

“The ongoing precipitation, it is really welcome in the region. Overall, the basin remains in a deficit and so we’re continuing to monitor those conditions,” said Nicole Newton, manager of natural environment and adaptation.

“One of the things that we are looking at is the rate at which the snow does melt. The snowpack is quite important for our long-term water security and projections are signalling that there might still be a hot and dry summer. So we’re trying to balance those risks with the water supply in the future,” she said.

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“May and June are our typical months in which we have to balance the risk between flood and drought.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton weather forecast: Monday, May 6, 2024'

Edmonton weather forecast: Monday, May 6, 2024

A water reduction advisory is in place in Calgary, as the city asks residents to reduce their water use and make every drop count. Current drought conditions in Calgary are listed as “dry,” which is on the “voluntary water conservation” side of the scale as opposed to mandatory water restrictions.

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Despite the rain this week, Newton is still asking Calgarians to conserve water. Things Calgarians can do include watching the weather forecast to decide when to water their gardens and lawn, planting water-wise, drought-tolerant plants in their yards, and using a rain barrel.

“It’s important for Calgarians to remain prepared,” Newton said.

There is currently a wait list to get a rain barrel in Calgary, but Newton said the city is working to address that demand.

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Newton said the city is introducing changes to the water utility bylaw for council’s review in June that would look at the introduction of an outdoor water schedule, and help Calgarians transition into outdoor water restrictions if they’re needed later in the season.

Much of southeastern Alberta remained under a rainfall warning on Tuesday, with anywhere from 50 to 70 millimetres of rain expected before the precipitation tapers off on Wednesday.

As of 7:25 a.m. Tuesday, Calgary was not under a rainfall warning.

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