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15th July 2015
EDITOR
Okotoks, Alberta: Town's water reservoirs ranging between 90 to 70 per cent full

Friday, Jul 10, 2015 04:43 pm
By: Krista Conrad

There’s no better way to cool off on a hot summer’s day than a dip in the backyard pool, but the Town is urging residents to conserve water during this summer’s heat waves.

Water use in Okotoks can rise as much as triple regular demand when the temperature spikes, due to increased watering of lawns or use of backyard pools and sprinklers during the day.

The pressure this increase puts on the Town’s water reservoirs can be considerable, and has the potential to limit the supply of water during a fire emergency.

“Our constant focus is making sure that production keeps up to demand,” said Rick Quail, chief administrative officer for the Town of Okotoks.

The water supply is held in three main reservoirs in town. Reservoir levels are currently ranging between 90 to 70 per cent full. Ideally, the reservoirs are at least 90 per cent full, but after scheduled outdoor watering days these levels drop to about 70 per cent, and recovery to full levels can take days.

The Town is urging residents to stick to the outdoor watering schedule. Households with even-numbered addresses are permitted to water on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and evening, while those living in odd-numbered homes may water on Sundays and Thursdays.

This leaves periods of ‘pause time,’ three days each week when the reservoirs can be refilled to restore water levels.

“That is why our non-irrigation days are so important,” said Quail. “Those replenishing days are critical to maintaining our water supply.”

As well, the reservoirs have to be continuously replenished to ensure consistent water flow. Any instance of dry pipes could lead to serious water contamination.

The Town has noticed that most residents tend to follow the outdoor watering schedule.

“As soon as we put out the electronic signs [during the week of July 6], consumption dropped significantly,” said Quail. “We’re not in crisis, we’re just in significant monitoring mode.”

The Town requests that residents follow wise use procedures, like emptying children’s pools into the lawn during the evening to save water and not washing vehicles in driveways.

In lieu of running through the sprinkler, families are encouraged to visit the Town’s spray park, located at the Okotoks recreation centre.

“That’s actually one of our greatest water conservation tools in the town,” said Quail. “The water used is recycled, retreated, and purified, so there is very little waste.”

The Town cautions that should the upcoming hot July days put additional strain on the reservoirs, further restrictions may have to be implemented.

For now, careful usage and following the watering schedule are the most important measures to take.

“We love to be able to see the kids play in that little pool on a hot summer day,” said Quail. “Just be wise and conserve as much as possible.”

http://www.westernwheel.com/article/20150710/WHE0801/307109999/-1/WHE/residents-urged-to-monitor-water-usage