Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

Calgary will maintain its restrictions on water use

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Low precipitation and warm weather have contributed to historically low levels of Bow River in Calgary.


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Even if summer is over, the City of Calgary will not immediately lift the restrictions put in place in the month of 'August.

According to city authorities, these restrictions have saved an estimated quantity of water of more than a billion liters. Experts predict a dry winter, leading to the decision to continue restricting water use for now, to prevent low reservoir levels in the spring.

The water we saved allowed us to restore and preserve reservoir levels in preparation for winter, says Nicole Newton, manager of environmental adaptations at the City of Calgary.

Water in the Bow and Elbow River has reached historic low levels, due to low snowpack in the mountains, below normal precipitation, as well as warm weather. This is also the first time that the City has implemented water restrictions due to a drought.

Calgarians have mostly respected the restrictions, according to Nicole Newton. There have been no fines so far, but around twenty warnings have been issued.

She adds that with winter approaching, outdoor water use is expected to decrease. Next steps for the City will therefore be determined by future weather conditions, as well as residential and commercial water use.

When we decide to lift these restrictions it will not necessarily mean that we are out of the woods. Locally, we still have drought conditions.

A quote from Nicole Newton, Environmental Adaptations Manager for the City of Calgary

The City cannot limit indoor water use due to municipal bylaws, but Nicole Newton is encouraging Calgarians to be mindful of their water usage this winter.

According to John Pomeroy, Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change at the University of Saskatchewan, low water flow in rivers in Alberta is unprecedented.

He says the snowmelt started earlier this year due to above-normal temperatures, meaning the Bow River reached its highest level in May rather than June as usual. habit. We basically had one more month of summer, but we didn't have the additional water to help us get through it.

We must act now. We don't need to wait for a trend, we are definitely going to have another year like this.

A quote from John Pomeroy, University of Saskatchewan

He adds that this year's drought demonstrates the importance of developing better techniques for water resources management, in order to cope more effectively with future drought conditions in the region.

Nicole Newton says the City has already identified droughts as the biggest climate risk and is taking mitigation measures.

She says her team is currently working on a drought resilience plan, which will present strategic goals and initiatives to city council.

With information from Helen Pike


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