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Calgarians may see full water service restored earlier than expected: mayor

The Canadian Press

CALGARY — Calgary's weeks-long water crisis, which has prompted civic officials to ask residents to cut back on showers and other activities, may end a little sooner than expected.

Underground repairs to a water main that broke June 5 are now complete, Mayor Jyoti Gondek said Tuesday, and service could be restored earlier than the July 5 target date if things go well over the coming days.

July 5 is also the start of the Calgary Stampede, which brings throngs of visitors to the city.

"That date is still a good guideline. But what we've heard from the team today is that it's possible, if things go according to plan, that we might see an earlier timeline," Gondek said.

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For the last three weeks, Calgarians have been banned from using tap water for outdoor watering and urged to reduce their indoor use through means such as taking shorter showers and flushing toilets less frequently.

The city has issued 17 tickets to suspected violators of the restrictions. It has also offered non-potable river water at filling stations, and more than half a million litres have been picked up by residents.

City crews have used tactics such as drawing dechlorinated water from swimming pools to wash bridges and bridge decks.

Water usage dropped but crept up in recent days. Residents used 476 million litres of water on Monday, just under the set threshold of 480 million litres, the city said.

With repairs finished, work is to begin on flushing and filling the pipe, along with water quality testing. That will take time.

"When the original pipe break happened on June 5, it created a substantial depressurization to the pipe and shock to the system," said Michael Thompson, general manager of city infrastructure services.

"Due to the shock to the system, we know there is a risk that we will find other issues in the pipe as we start to re-pressurize it. We are managing the risk by filling the pipe slowly and carefully."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2024.

The Canadian Press