State of local emergency lifted for Calgary's water supply, but city cautions situation not yet normal

City remains under Stage 4 outdoor water restrictions, and the citywide fire ban remains in place. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press - image credit)
City remains under Stage 4 outdoor water restrictions, and the citywide fire ban remains in place. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press - image credit)

In the city's final daily update on its water supply crisis, officials said the state of local emergency that was enacted on June 15 expired on Thursday and will not be renewed.

However, Stage 4 outdoor water restrictions and a citywide fire ban remain in place as crews determine how the system will respond to the easing of indoor conservation measures.

"I want to stress that the lifting of the state of local emergency does not mean things have gone back to normal," said Sue Henry, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

"We are, unfortunately, still not at a place where we can relax those outdoor restrictions and move to Stage 3."

Earlier this week, the city said indoor water use could return to normal in Calgary and the neighbouring communities that rely on its water supply, though Mayor Jyoti Gondek urged residents to ease back into their regular water-use habits as crews work to fully stabilize the system.

City officials say the Bearspaw south feeder main — which ruptured on June 5 — is operating at 50 per cent capacity for now. Restoring the city's normal water supply also means taking some of the stress off of the rest of the system.

The City of Calgary's director of capital priorities and investment, Francois Bouchart, says the city is now using a monitoring tool called a "pipe diver," which the mayor noted is nicknamed Dory.

This piece of equipment is used to monitor large diameter water pipes, and it is being sent from the Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant all the way to the northwest community of Hillhurst.

Bouchart also noted the next step in removing outdoor water restrictions might not come for some time, but Calgarians can expect that it will be lifted in steps.

"Moving from Stage 4 to Stage 3 is our next milestone," said Bouchart.

"This progress relies on our ability to gradually increase supply in our network without compromising the pipe."

Stampede's water plan

In an email statement sent to CBC News, a spokesperson for the Calgary Stampede said that, under current outdoor water restrictions, the organization will "continue to use non-potable water for things like western event competition grooming and cleaning of the midway."

"The Flume ride, Midway water games and the Dog Bowl pool (the 'water attractions') have been filled with hauled potable water from outside the city system, and will continue to be topped up with hauled potable water," reads the email.

The spokesperson says the Stampede had previously brought in four large water storage tanks that it had planned to fill with potable water hauled in from outside of the city.

"These will stay in place but under current restrictions, they will sit empty. We are prepared to use if the situation evolves."