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Warmer-than-average summer expected for southern Alberta: ECCC

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Summer is just about in full swing with temperatures set to reach more than 20 C over the next few days, but Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) says things may only get hotter from here.

Long-term forecasts are predicting southern Alberta and the rest of the Prairies will have a warmer-than-average summer.

"We certainly do expect a warming. That warming is going to tend to dry out soils, dry out forests as we move into the future," said Nathan Gillett, a researcher at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis.

Right now, there are 20 active wildfires in Alberta.

"Our colleagues at the Canadian Forest Service are predicting increased wildfire risk for the central part of Canada for the later part of the summer," Gillett said.

Most of the country will also experience higher-than-average temperatures this summer.

The only region expected to have average to below-average temperatures is coastal B.C.

City of Calgary administration recommends council approve bylaw changes for a permanent outdoor water scheduling program this summer.

It would see households able to water their lawns between the hours of 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. twice a week or for three hours each of those two days.

"Our projection of getting two million people, it's going to be a lot faster than we ever imagined," Coun. Terry Wong said.

"So therefore, again, that demand that we put on our supply is critical."

Coun. Sonya Sharp says council will look at the recommendations next week, after a committee meeting pushed it off from Tuesday.

"I think it's really important to conserve water in general, just like we conserve electricity, or running things at certain times a day," she said.

The emergency of a broken water main feeder line has the city on Stage 4 restrictions.

Acadia resident Dianne Duncan, who loves to garden, says she invested in artificial grass but her perennials and bushes still need a good soaking.

"We don't water these that often," she said.

"We've got a little round thing you put on the end of your hose, and you just let it drip in there, so we're not wasting the back-and-forth water."

She adds that the recommendations might be too little for many gardeners already facing a short summer season.

"Six (hours) might be a little low. probably eight, so if you want to water your stuff every other day," she said.

A hot summer does bode well for some outdoor attractions.

More people have been heading to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge as the weather continues to warm up.

"There's more people coming every single time. The weather turns out great, then we have more private events that come here. Weddings, special events, daily programming, so this garden is definitely bumping this time of year," said Eric Granson, marketing and events manager for the garden.

While more people are making their way to the gardens, the busiest time of year is yet to come.

"July and August is our busiest time of year, which is why we also have a much larger attendance at that time as well. Also, an increase in our hours of operation. We're staying until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August as a result," Granson said. 

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