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Calgary lifts outdoor water restrictions, encourages residents to be ‘efficient’

Calgary is lifting city-wide outdoor water restrictions put into place this summer.

The Stage 1 outdoor water restrictions were declared on Aug. 15 amid dry conditions and record-low natural flow levels on the Bow and Elbow rivers.

At the time, the city said it was an important measure to help sustain Calgary’s water supply in the Glenmore Reservoir.

On Monday, the city announced the restrictions would be lifted as of Oct. 31, thanks to colder weather and a seasonal shift in water use that has helped demand stabilize. 

“We want to thank all residents, businesses and regional customers for following outdoor water restrictions over the past two months,” said the city in a news release.

“These efforts helped tremendously to reduce water demand during drought.”

During the restrictions, Calgarians were asked to use a sprinkler to water lawns, gardens, trees and shrubs just one day a week for a maximum of two hours on a specific scheduled determined by their house number.

Calgarians were still able to water their gardens, trees and shrubs using a handheld watering can or hose with shut-off spray, water new grass or seed, fill outdoor pools or hot tubs, use water from rain barrels and water for construction purposes like grading, compaction or dust control.

According to the city, 1.5 billion litres of water – the equivalent of 606 Olympic size swimming pools – was saved while the limitations were in place.

Though the restrictions lift on Tuesday, Nicole Newton with the city says Calgarians are still being encouraged to be “efficient” with their water use.

“Being water wise helps to keep our rivers healthy, extends the life of our infrastructure and makes sure our neighbouring communities also have the water they need,” she said.

While this marked the first time that Calgary has required all residents to reduce their outdoor water use, the city says that the region is prone to “hot, dry summers” and climate modelling suggests Calgary will continue to experience “more severe and frequent weather events such as drought” in the future. 

As such, the city will continue to monitor drought conditions and reduce water use when necessary.

For information on Calgary’s current climate, you can visit the city’s website.

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