'Better than what we hoped to achieve': Calgary water consumption hits new low

Mayor says water usage on Saturday lowest since water crisis began

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek had some good news to share during her daily briefing on the city's water crisis Sunday morning. She said residents have been taking action to reduce their consumption.

According to the mayor, consumption on Saturday was lower than on any other day since a catastrophic water feeder main break on June 5 cut the city off from 60 per cent of its drinking water supply.

Just 438 million litres were consumed.

"It's better than what we hoped to achieve," Gondek said.

"I cannot thank you enough for taking that call to action seriously."

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Sunday's news comes just two days after Gondek made a desperate plea to residents to take water conservation more seriously.

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On Friday, she said water consumption had been trending up all week and that 480 million litres was used on Thursday, surpassing the sustainability threshold.

"I am standing here this morning with one message only," she said.

"We must do better."

Gondek said that Saturday's reduced water usage leaves the city in good shape when it comes to supply.

"We've got about 634 million litres as of 6 a.m. this morning. That means that we have enough water stored to meet demand and also protect ourselves in case of any emergencies," she said.

CBC: water-main-break-pipe-repair (City of Calgary)

(City of Calgary via CBC)

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According to figures from the city, the previous low consumption number was hit on Saturday, June 8, when 440 million litres was consumed. That number began trending up the next day, reaching 457 million litres on Sunday, and kept climbing until Wednesday, when water consumption peaked at 489 million litres, an amount that was not sustainable with the elimination of the Bearspaw feeder main, the mayor said.

Also on Sunday, Gondek said the city is investigating some other options for water delivery, including using overland pipes to get water from the Bearspaw reservoir into the parts of the city that need it most.

But she asked for time and patience as city staff collect information and examine the feasibility of different delivery systems.

And until backup systems are in place, consumption will need to stay at Saturday's levels, she said.

Thumbnail courtesy of Monty Kruger/CBC.

The story was originally written by Jim Brown and published for CBC News.