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City announces two river locations for non-potable water for limited commercial use

Two locations along Calgary’s Bow River have been dedicated to providing non-potable water to industrial water users for construction work after a water feeder main suffered a catastrophic failure this month, disrupting the city’s water supply. 

Deputy chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Coby Duerr, announced one of the locations (at the West Baker Park boat launch) is officially open, and the second location (at the Ogden boat launch) will open Friday afternoon.

Duerr said access to the water is only for contractors with active development agreements and permits, commercial landscape companies, bulk water station users, and contractors working for capital projects for the City of Calgary and its regional customers.

“This temporary service is free of charge and will be the responsibility of the end user to ensure that the water is appropriate for its intended application,” he said.

This comes after the provincial government issued two temporary diversion licences to the City of Calgary, which allows for 200,000 cubic metres (200 million litres) for non-potable industrial use via diversion points out of the Bow River.

Duerr says the city has been working closely with the local construction industry and support them through the Stage 4 water restrictions.

Work ‘could be done as soon as July 5,’ says mayor

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said Thursday the timeline to complete the work needed to repair the feeder main will come into sharper focus as the repair work continues. 

A day earlier, city officials suggested repairs could move quicker than previously expected.

“This is a best-case estimate at this particular point in time,” said Gondek at her public briefing Thursday morning.

“It means that work could be done as soon as July 5, which is exactly three weeks since we discovered and reported that there were five hot spots that needed to be addressed.” 

Wednesday marked two weeks since the critically important Bearspaw south feeder main suffered a rupture. Since then, Stage 4 water restrictions on outdoor water use were enacted alongside a citywide fire ban.

Various city services — such as street sweeping, pools and recreation centres — also remain disrupted.

a sandwich board sign on green grass reads "mandatory outdoor water restrictions in effect"
As of Wednesday afternoon, the total number of calls to the city’s bylaw service regarding outdoor water restrictions and the fire ban had reached over 7,200. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Water usage ‘well below’ threshold for 5th day in a row

Water conservation remains top of mind for the city.

Gondek says that, on Wednesday, Calgary and the surrounding communities that draw from its water supply used 454 million litres of water, marking the fifth consecutive day of remaining “well below” the 480 million litre usage threshold for safety.

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