Source: Facebook

While Calgary’s recent feeder main break has resulted in serious water restrictions for the past week, permanent restrictions for the city’s residents could be on the horizon.

Calgary’s city council is set to discuss amendments to the wastewater, stormwater, and water utility bylaws next week.

The proposed amendments include a watering schedule, allowing Calgarians to use sprinklers for just three hours a day, two days a week, between 8:00 pm and 10:00 am. 

Currently, Calgary’s water restrictions start at voluntary water conservation before escalating to Stage 1-4 restriction levels. Stages are determined by risk of drought conditions. Stages 1-2 are normally implemented when it is “very dry” and Stages 3-4 when it is “extremely dry.”

Fines for violations during Stage 1 begin at $400, rising to $600 at Stage 2, $1,500 in Stage 3, and $3,000 in Stage 4.

If the changes are implemented, the voluntary water conservation phase will be replaced with the outdoor watering schedule, which will be permanently in effect.

Calgarians can choose to water their lawn any two days per week, although this can be further limited if the city elevates the restriction level.

Calgarians would still be able to water gardens and newly planted grass, trees, and shrubs whenever they like by hand.

The City of Calgary said that the administration started looking into a water schedule in 2021, when it held consultations with residents..

“Calgarians showed strong support (71%) for outdoor watering schedules,” reads the city’s report to the executive committee. 

The proposed changes follow Calgary’s commitment to reduce its water consumption by 30% over 30 years, a target the city reports having achieved ten years ahead of schedule.

“The Watering Schedule will remain in place throughout the summer (2024) unless more restrictive measures are required due to worsening drought conditions or operational needs,” Calgary’s report warns.

The administration plans to update its water efficiency plan further in 2025.

Calgary’s water restrictions remain at Stage 4, thanks to a critical 78-inch feeder main fracturing last Wednesday. However, the city recently lifted the boil water advisory for all residents and businesses in Bowness. 

Mayor Jyoti Gondek apologized for the poor communication at the start of the water crisis and has begun providing daily updates.

During this recent wave of restrictions, Calgarians have further reduced their water consumption by an additional 30%.