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Calgarians urged to do better in curbing water use during unprecedented main break


Calgarians were being urged Friday to keep reducing their water use as work to repair to a major water main stretched into a second day.

“This current level of water cannot continue,” said Nancy Mackay, the city’s director of water services. “If we do not reduce our water use even further, we’re at risk of running out.”

One area of the city remained under a boil water advisory. A fire ban was in place for the entire city.

All Calgarians were asked to reduce their use by an additional 25 per cent from what they used Thursday.

Outdoor water use such as car washing or plant watering has been banned. Citizens were being asked to shorten their showers, hold off on washing the dishes or doing the laundry and flushing only when necessary.

“We must all further reduce water use,” Mackay said.

The water warning was originally issued Thursday. Officials said there was significant reduction in water use until the afternoon but it increased around the time most people got home from work.

They said more water was being used than the city can produce, putting services like firefighting at risk.

The city dispatched nine water wagons to the northwest neighbourhood of Bowness, where residents were told to boil tap water for at least a minute before use.

Emergency Management Agency Chief Sue Henry said bylaw officers responded to 56 reports of water misuse and nine fire calls.

Businesses were asked to stop using water for non-essential services. Hospitals and restaurants and businesses that use water to deliver life-sustaining products or services or to meet health code standards were exempt.

No mandatory measures have been imposed on businesses.

The size of the break is considered unprecedented.

Mackay said crews have been pumping water away from the flooded area in order to expose the break for repairs.

“The goal today is to expose the part of the water main that we think has some damage and getting the site location ready. This is a massive break that can’t be repaired in a day or two.

“We need everyone to do their part.”

Normally, the city stores between a day-and-a-half and two days’ worth of water in its reservoir system.