Calgary still on track for July 5 water repair target, mayor says

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the July 5 target for completing water repairs is "still very much in play," as crews continue to work on replacing damaged sections of pipe on the city's feeder main.

In a briefing update on Saturday morning, Gondek said the cutting and removal of the damaged sections of pipe is now complete.

"This is a significant milestone, and it begins our transition from pipe removal toward pipe installation," she said.

Most materials required for the repairs are either on site or in transit, including two key pieces of pipe that arrived from San Diego earlier this week, Gondek said.

At a later press conference, Michael Thompson, the city's general manager of infrastructure services, said one section of pipe that cannot be removed because of the presence of a thrust block is being reinforced with steel.

The replacement pipes are currently being sandblasted and coated, Thompson said, and will be delivered to their respective sites when ready for installation.

He said crews are currently focused on welding into place the adapters that will attach the new pieces of steel pipe to the old infrastructure.

Any sections of pipe that have been removed are being stored so that they can become part of an independent incident review, Gondek said.

Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek provides an update on the state of water repairs, Saturday, June 22.
Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek provides an update on the state of water repairs on Saturday. (CBC )

The mayor announced on Friday the city's intention to carry out the review, which is set to be guided by members of the water industry, as well as academia. Gondek also promised to conduct a wide-ranging examination of the city's underground infrastructure.

"What I can tell you is that the framework [of the review] has been completed, and we're now moving into the phases of identifying who would be on the panel and then standing up that panel and having them be publicly announced," she said.

Water restrictions still in place, mayor says

Repairs on multiple sections of the water feeder main that transports the majority of the city's water have been underway for more than two weeks, since an initial catastrophic break occurred on June 5.

Gondek said city water consumption was 462 million litres on Friday, and she reminded Calgarians that water restrictions are still in place despite the warm weather forecast this weekend.

"I'm sure that the last thing you are thinking about is how to save water.... But with the outdoor watering ban still in place, running sprinklers or filling pools is not something you should be doing, and you could have a visit from bylaw [services] if you participate in using outdoor water."

As of Saturday afternoon, officials said bylaw officers have received 2,386 water misuse calls and issued 621 verbal warnings and 14 violation tickets.

Calgary emergency management chief Susan Henry said the city has opened two stations on the Bow River for non-potable water collection: at Baker Park and at the Ogden boat launch. The sites are open to members of the construction industry and Calgary residents seeking water for outdoor use such as watering plants.

Henry said the city has so far distributed 48,784 litres of water for the construction industry across 13 different trucks that have come by the sites for filling.

She reminded Calgary residents to bring appropriate-sized containers to fill with water.

"This is not about filling a huge water tank or tote," Henry said. "Take only what you need for now, and we're continuing to look at options for how we can expand these stations across the city."

Gondek encouraged Calgarians to support local shops in Bowness and Montgomery that have been disrupted by the feeder main break and ongoing construction.

"The majority of businesses have also told me that they've hit record low sales and it's an absolute gut punch for them," she said. "So I would say ... maybe consider dropping by and showing those businesses some love."