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Calgary's water woes due to feeder main rupture highlight national issue, experts say


Note: Work on a ruptured feeder line in Montgomery moved into a new phase on Wednesday night, exactly a week after a section of the nearly half-century-old pipe broke and prompted city-wide water restrictions.

Crews used heavy machinery to lower the replacement pipe into the ground.

Welding is underway to secure that section.

The water main will then be flushed, followed by water testing, all of which could take five more days.

Then finally, water can be fully restored and restrictions phased out.

So, we're looking into the middle of next week.

Our original story follows:


A week after a major feeder line ruptured in Montgomery, forcing Calgary into water restrictions, city crews are working to replace the damaged pipe.

The incident has highlighted concerns about aging infrastructure across Canada.

The break, which occurred June 5th, forced the city to reroute water flow.

Repairs are expected to take at least another week.

The damaged pipe, originally designed for a 100-year lifespan, was already 49 years old.

Experts say this incident underscores a Canada-wide problem of neglected infrastructure.

"Unfortunately, it's not something that people want to spend money on," said Tricia Stadnyk, a civil engineering professor at the University of Calgary.

"It's difficult to convince city council and politicians to disrupt people with water delivery issues in order to spend the money upfront."

The City of Calgary says it will re-examine all its aging underground infrastructure this year.

Fixing the problem, however, hinges on who pays for it.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek says the current provincial funding model is a roadblock.

"When it comes to water infrastructure, the funds flow from the federal government to the provincial government and smaller communities often struggle to provide the support larger centres need," Gondek said.

"Rates are based on population, and larger cities have a larger tax base. We need to revisit these models."

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, however, maintains that fixing Calgary's infrastructure is the city's responsibility.

"It's going to require much more investment in the future to make sure leaks are fixed, identified and there's a robust maintenance schedule," Smith said.

"That's the responsibility of the city."

While repairs on the feeder line progress, the impact of the break is still being felt across the city.

Flooding from the ruptured pipe damaged Shouldice Park, leaving its fields off-limits and with no clear timeline for reopening.

What's still left to tackle

Installation and welding of the new pipe will happen Wednesday evening and into Thursday.

Crews will then flush the water main and that will take about three days.

Testing water quality could take about two days.

Finally, water will be fully restored and restrictions will be phased out.

Timelines could change, but Calgary could be back to normal by the middle of next week. Top Stories

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