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Here's how Calgary's water main break is affecting surrounding communities


A major water main break in northwest Calgary is forcing some communities surrounding the city to adapt.

Calgary is under a mandatory water advisory, with officials telling residents and businesses to strictly limit water usage, following the water main break along 16 Avenue N.W. on Wednesday night.

An emergency alert was issued to Calgary residents on Thursday morning, saying water supply levels have reached a critical state affecting the city’s ability to provide water to communities.

Another water supply alert was sent out for all communities on Calgary’s water supply on Thursday afternoon, including Airdrie, Strathmore and Chestermere.

“All residents and businesses must conserve water. A mandatory outdoor water ban is in effect along with a voluntary indoor water restriction,” the alert reads.

City of Chestermere

Chestermere is asking residents to restrict water usage to “essential use only” following the break.

All outdoor water use has been temporarily banned.

A voluntary water restriction has been implemented to help share the water currently available.

The city is asking residents to:

  • Use dishwashers and washing machines only when required and with full loads;
  • Turn off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving;
  • Limiting showers to five minutes and keeping baths shallow;
  • Scraping plates clean rather than rinsing food off;
  • Turning off humidifiers and ice machines; and
  • Delay the washing of vehicles and the filling of hot tubs and swimming pools.

City of Airdrie

Airdrie implemented water restrictions on Thursday, telling residents to stop outdoor water usage to share the water currently available.

The city also asked residents to restrict indoor water usage, but there are no boil water advisories in effect and water remains safe to drink.

Officials say dishwashers and washing machines should only be used when required and only with full loads, showers should be limited to five minutes and baths should be kept shallow.

Businesses that use non-essential water, such as laundromats and car washes, are being asked to reduce water use.

As in Calgary, businesses that provide life-sustaining services are exempt from the restrictions.

That includes businesses that need water to meet health code standards such as health centres and restaurants.

Town of Strathmore

Strathmore, which gets its potable water from the City of Calgary, also implemented outdoor water restrictions on Thursday.

“Stage 4 outdoor water restrictions require all outdoor water use to cease with the exception of life-sustaining uses, such as livestock, or businesses which must use water to meet health standards, such as hospitals and restaurants,” the town said in a news release.

Voluntary indoor water reductions are also in effect.

The town said the duration of the restrictions is unknown. It encouraged residents to check the Town of Strathmore Facebook page and its website for updates.

Strathmore is located approximately 50 kilometres east of Calgary.

Rocky View County

Rocky View County issued a fire ban for the west and east regions of the county on Thursday morning, due to the “extensive water emergency.”

The county said the ban will remain in effect, with no new fire permits issued, until repairs are made and normal water consumption can resume.

Under the advisory, all existing fire permits are suspended and residential and campground fire pits and solid fuelled barbecue appliances cannot be used.

Visit the county’s fire bans and advisories page for up-to-date information.

Town of Cochrane

In a news release Thursday, the Town of Cochrane said the water main break has not affected its water systems.

The town remains under its level one water restrictions, which are in effect year-round. It will not be taking any further action at this time.

“Cochrane’s water systems remain fully operational and safe. We extend our support to our neighbours in Calgary as they work to manage and resolve this situation,” the town said in the update.

With files from CTV News Calgary’s Michael Franklin Top Stories

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