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Lethbridge reveals proposed water conservation plan, no current restrictions in place

The City of Lethbridge is considering a new water conservation strategy with drought conditions expected for 2024. (CTV News) The City of Lethbridge is considering a new water conservation strategy with drought conditions expected for 2024. (CTV News)

With water levels in the Oldman River Reservoir sitting at just over 30 per cent and another drought-like summer predicted, the City of Lethbridge is looking to take steps before the situation worsens.

Normal levels would see the Oldman River Reservoir at 70 per cent for this time of year.

A new water conservation policy brought forward to Thursday’s economic standing policy committee looks at voluntary programs that could help elevate the demand for water in the city and cut water use by 20 per cent by 2030.

In the three-tier policy, the first step would include education and awareness programs that focus on best practices, interactive tools to promote water conservation and activities that promote conservation.

Voluntary measures would include working to achieve a 20 per cent reduction target, identifying leaking faucets and toilets and replacing old fixtures with water-efficient ones.

The policy also includes economic programs such as increasing water rates.

Residents who use more water would pay higher rates. The rates are designed to minimize the financial impact on average consumers.

The scales also provide a choice in summer watering practices. Efficient water usage will lead to lower bills.

The proposed rate changes would not impact 74 per cent of current residential users. Pricing changes are also proposed for the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) sector. The changes would not affect more than 90 per cent of current ICI users.

The third part of the policy would focus on regulations, introduce a new water rationing plan and include four stages. The plan would be used when action needs to be taken to reduce water usage when supply is low.

Stage one has outdoor water rationing including no washing vehicles outside of a carwash, washing outdoor surfaces and filling private in-ground or portable pools larger than 3,000 litres.

Residents would be allowed to water for up to two hours between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. on designated days.

Stage two would build off of stage one, while restricting watering of new lawns, trees and shrubs, with an exception if they were planted less than 10 days prior.

The third stage prohibits the filling of pools, ponds and hot tubs, along with the use of irrigation sprinklers. Only watering by hand would be allowed.

If reached, stage four would prohibit all outdoor watering, including construction projects.

According to the city, in July 2023, water usage in Lethbridge would have drained Henderson Lake approximately five times.

The city says it’s doing its part by installing more water-efficient fixtures in public buildings and centralizing irrigation controls.

There are currently no water restrictions in place for Lethbridge.

The proposed policy will go before city council in the coming months. Top Stories

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