Hundreds of homes without water as crews scramble to repair burst pipes in freezing cold

Days into a freezing cold that is gripping the Prairies, Calgary is dealing with water main breaks all over the city.

Ten different incidents were still considered active as of Wednesday evening, leaving 212 homes and 10 businesses without running water.

“It’s going to be an event, coming over to get water all of the time. How many pails do we have to come over with? One or two, maybe three at a time?” said D’arcy Williamson, whose Montgomery street is now covered in about two inches of ice after a water pipe burst and flooded the area in the middle of the night.

City crews are working extended hours to try and repair all of the breaks, a spokesperson said.

It usually takes workers less than 48 hours to repair a burst pipe, but the sustained plunging temperatures have pushed timelines back.

“Operating machinery in this extreme cold, digging in frozen ground and frost depth make it challenging to locate and fix issues,” the city spokesperson said.

Jamie Long has had to fill up buckets of water at one of the city-provided water wagons since a water main broke on his Altadore street on Sunday.

“Obviously, it’s not how you want to spend your Christmas vacation,” Long said.

“I mean, a little bit of inconvenience. Obviously, I wish it wasn’t freezing out, but we have heat and we have electricity, so it’s been okay,” he added.

While workers scramble to restore water, they’re also preparing for temperatures to rise drastically into the weekend – something that could bring on many more burst pipes over Christmas. 

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