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Untreated water now available for residents, businesses at 6 Calgary locations as distribution gets off to a rocky start

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An outbreak of summer weather didn’t deter Calgary from turning off the taps Saturday.

At her Sunday morning update, Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek said the city’s water consumption Saturday came in at 451 million litres, well below its threshold level and the lowest total in the past three days.

“That was great news,” Gondek said.

The positive data came on a day when the temperature hit 25 C in the city, with more hot, sunny weather in the forecast for Sunday and Monday.

4 more water sites added

Untreated river water is now available at six different locations in the city, although distribution got off to a rocky start Sunday at Baker Park (4320 Bow River Pathway)  and the Ogden Boat Launch (3303 Bow River Pathway), the original two sites.

Sunday morning, CTV News visited Baker Park, only to discover no water available from water trucks and people with buckets who weren't allowed to dip directly into the river.

There were similar problems at the Ogden Boat Launch, where one frustrated Calgarian, Chantal Cormier, said city staff members weren't even aware that residents were allowed to receive it.

Cormier said she had new landscaping done two weeks ago, and had used all her water from her rain barrel, watered her sod with bottled water and consulted with a couple contractors who said it would cost $800 a week to water her new lawn.

Sunday, she was part of an irate group of Calgarians waiting at the Baker Park Boat Launch for the water truck to arrive after being given the boot from Ogden by staff members she described as "rude."

"We were told 12 (noon) at the update," she said, "and now they're not sure when they're going to be arriving. We're very thankful for the (city) workers that are here because they've been very polite and helpful.

Chantal Cormier was frustrated trying to get some river water Sunday

"It's just (probably) another thing where the mayor gives out information and they're not communicating to staff and it's not fair to the staff, not knowing when the water's going to arrive and everyone's angry, (and) upset.

"I can honestly see people just turning on their hoses at night because they're waiting in line and they're not hearing when they're going to be able to get water to help with your new landscaping, sod or anythin," Cormier added.

At the 2 p.m. update, Coby Duerr, assistant chief of Calgary Emergency Management, acknowledged that water distribution was a mess earlier in the day.

"We apologize to Calgarians," Duerr said. "We had a little delay in the water trucks arriving."

The trucks arrived at 1:20 p.m.

He explained that residents weren't allowed to draw water on their own from the river due to safety concerns.

Four other river water sites have been added by the city, at the Genesis Centre (7555 Falconridge Blvd NE), Ambrose University (150 Ambrose Circle SW), Spyhill Landfill (11808 69 St. NW), and Bishop O'Byrrne High School (333 Shawville Blvd SE).

"We now have water sites in every quadrant of the city," Duerr said.

To get water, residents must supply their own container.

“Please take only as much as you can carry," Duerr said, adding that city employees are not allowed to help load water onto trucks due to safety considerations.

Residents are allowed up to 25 gallons or 100 litres of  non-potable water.

Original repair site open

Michael Thompson, the city's general manager of infrastructure services, said work continued on all five hospots, with the focus Sunday on welding.

Four of the five sites are replacing some pipe, but Thompson said the fifth is being retrofitted with concrete rather than replaced.

He added the original break at 16th Avenue and Home Road is now fully repaired and the road open.

"It's an encouraging sign," Thompson said.

He said the city is updating its Frequently Asked Questions portion of its websites to try to respond to residents' concerns and thanked a half dozen different welding companies for their work fixing the five hotspots.

"We continue to make good progress," Thompson said.

Sunday morning, the mayor said that the target completion date for repairs remains July 5, which is opening day of the Calgary Stampede.

The next update from the city is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday. To watch it live, log onto CTV Calgary.

With files from Tyler Barrow

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