On Saturday morning, Calgary Mayor, Jyoti Gondek said that the cutting and removal of the damaged water feeder main pipe was completed yesterday.

"This is a significant milestone and it begins our transition from pipe removal towards pipe installation," she said. "The majority of the associated materials that are required for the repairs are now either on site or being delivered there. Welding started yesterday and it continues through the weekend and it includes the adapters that are needed to connect the new piece of pipe to the existing pipe."

She added that reinforced steel is being installed on the segment of pipe that has a piece called the thrust block.

"Any sections of pipe that have been removed are being stored so they can become part of the independent incident review. The July 5 target for reopening and completion is still very much in play," Mayor Gondek underlined.

As far as water usage is concerned, on Friday Mayor Gondek said that 462 million litres of water was used. Water usage has been steadily increasing in the past several days. 

"We're below the threshold and I know we can do better. We have had days where we're at about 440 million litres used and so I understand I'm asking a lot; but if we can just reduce our consumption a little bit, that would just give us that little bit of extra supply that we need to have.... We've been at this water-saving thing for two weeks now and there are about two weeks to go. We can do this."

Airdrie offers non-potable water to residents 

The City of Airdrie announced on Friday that it has set up non-potable water tanks for watering plants, flowers and gardens at the Airdrie Recycle Depot.

With weekend temperatures expected to be in the mid-20s, The City has said that the non-potable water station is meant to help residents with their gardening needs.

Residents are asked to bring their own buckets—up to five gallons—and fill them using the hose attached to the tanks. The non-potable water is for residential use only.

"This water is for plants, flower and garden use only. It is not safe for drinking or household use," The City underlined.

It also added that city crews will be doing some dust suppression and street sweeping work this weekend to maintain community safety. However, the water used for this is trucked in from other communities.

"Our community’s efforts to reduce water usage are paying off. Yesterday, June 20, we saw a 26 per cent drop in water usage compared to normal levels before the outdoor water restrictions," city officials added.

Airdrie's Recycle Depot is located at 21 East Lake Hill. The Depot is open Wednesday to Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed Monday and Tuesday. 

Calgary officials update on water main repairs 

On Friday, Calgary officials said that the city's state of local emergency was renewed this afternoon at 1:15.

"We renewed it to continue to support our operations to help us get through the critical stages of these repairs. The repairs to the water feeder main line are ongoing and we're working as quickly and as safely as possible to restore city water," said Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Chief Susan Henry.

Henry said that while water consumption is below a critical threshold, it has been creeping up in the past few days. On Thursday, 460 million litres of water were consumed.

"We still need you to continue to conserve water as you have been for the last several days and weeks, especially as we head into the weekend of warmer weather," she added.

Mayor Gondek said that since the start of the water main break, residents have conserved over two billion litres of water. However, she echoed Henry's call to conserve water, especially as weekend temperatures are predicted to be much warmer than the previous days.

Gondek also stated that she would press city staff to determine what the city needs regarding budget numbers to better understand the state of Calgary's underground water infrastructure.

"We've also got an independent review of this incident underway; the framework has been created for this; it will now go to choosing a panel and then standing up that panel. I'm going to take up the offers of support from both the provincial and federal governments, both of whom have offered to help in any way that they can," Gondek said."I'll be calling in all favours, and I will not be leaving anything on the table."

Physical damage observed

City of Calgary Infrastructure Services General Manager Michael Thompson said that crews are continuing to cut and remove the existing damaged pipe, which is slated to be finished by the end of the day. He also addressed questions on the extent of damages to the water feeder main.

"Some people have asked if we saw physical damage on the pipes as we were exposing them. I can tell you that on one segment of a hotspot that we removed, we did see signs of physical damage on the outside of the pipe. This pipe and all the other pieces of pipe are being stored at one of our locations to be reviewed during the third-party independent review," he said.

He also reiterated that there were no previous indications of the pipe failing in such a way.

"A number of people were wondering why we weren't inspecting this, and again, we were planning to do a complete electromagnetic cycle inspection of this pipe this fall or winter as part of our asset management plan."

Non-potable water available for the construction industry 

Henry said that two sites have been opened on the Bow River for the city's construction industries to obtain non-potable water.

"We have opened a pickup location for Calgary's construction industry at the Ogden boat launch on the Bow River to provide non-potable water for construction work only. Today, a second site will open at Baker Park. I want to emphasize that river water is not safe for drinking, and it's only to be used for commercial construction and landscaping activities to the industry, get through these stage four water restrictions."

The water is not currently available to the general public.

"... But we are working on a plan to ensure that citizens get some access to non-potable water. In the meantime, please continue using your rain barrels," she said. 

Airdrie and Calgary remain under water restrictions and fire ban 

Airdrie and Calgary remain under water restrictions and a fire ban. Genesis Place pool and aquatics facilities will remain closed until and including July 1. 

"Ice-arena activities resumed over the weekend. The water used to maintain the City’s ice arenas is being supplied from sources outside the Calgary water main break impacted region via a water truck," officials added.

Under level four water restrictions, all outdoor water use is temporarily banned, and indoor water conservation is strongly encouraged. Under level four water restrictions, residents cannot:

  • Water lawns, gardens, trees, shrubs and flowers by any method other than rainwater.
  • Wash down any outdoor surfaces, including exterior building surfaces, windows, sidewalks, driveways, or walkways of any sort unless your business requires them to for health and safety reasons.
  • Wash cars on driveways or streets.
  • Fill outdoor decorative features, fountains, pools, or hot tubs.
  • Use potable water for construction purposes such as grading, compaction, or dust control.

No boil water advisories are in effect within the City of Airdrie, and water remains safe to drink.

"To ensure we share the water currently available, we are asking Airdrie residents to immediately restrict indoor water use by taking the following voluntary actions:"

  • Use dishwasher and washing machine only when required and with full loads.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Limit showers to five minutes or less and keep baths shallow.
  • Scrape plates clean rather than rinsing food off.
  • Turn off humidifiers and ice machines, delay washing vehicles,
  • Businesses using large volumes of non-essential water, such as laundromats and car washes, are asked to reduce water use.
  • Businesses that use water to deliver a life-sustaining product or service for people and animals are exempt. Other exemptions include businesses using water to meet health code standards, such as health centres and restaurants.

"The fire ban will remain in effect until repairs to the broken water main pipe in Calgary are made and normal water consumption can resume," The City stated on June 6. 

An Alberta Emergency Alert advisory remains in place for Calgary, Airdrie, Strathmore, and Chestermere.

"... Supply levels remain in a critical state, affecting the city's ability to provide water to communities and ensure adequate water is available to support emergency fire suppression."

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