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Limit Water Usage Notice

UPDATE: Wednesday, March 22, 2017  10:25 a.m.

Water reserves have been restored, call for community-wide water conservation has ended

Effective immediately, the City of Lethbridge's call for community-wide water conservation has ended.  

Water production at the Water Treatment Plant is back to normal, and water reserves were restored to normal levels overnight. Residents are advised they can now resume normal water use. 

We extend our thanks to everyone in Lethbridge and in surrounding communities who took whatever steps they could to conserve water over the past several days. These water conservation efforts, combined with the hard work and long hours of staff at the Water Treatment Plant, helped prevent our potable water supply from being depleted to levels that would have forced a boil water order. 

Production of potable drinking water at the Water Treatment Plant was slowed and for a time interrupted late last week by extremely muddy conditions and high turbidity in the Oldman River due to the rapid snow melt and ice jams. The river water conditions improved substantially over the past 72 hours, enabling the Water Treatment Plant to step up processing volume substantially to restore our water reserves.  

We also thank local news media and residents who helped spread the message about our conservation effort via social media and word of mouth.   

Additional information on water treatment and conservation is available at: www.lethbridge.ca/water.

 

UPDATE: Tuesday, March 21, 1 p.m.

River conditions are improving, but the community is still urged to continue water conservation efforts

The City of Lethbridge is urging the community to continue limiting water usage as much as possible. 

The river water conditions have improved noticeably in the past 48 hours, and barring unexpected difficulties, staff at the Water Treatment Plant expect to make significant progress toward restoring our water reserves today and tonight. However, this progress depends on our entire community continuing to conserve water as much as possible, for the time being, as we need to add about 20 million litres of water to our reserves. 

Production of potable drinking water at the Water Treatment Plant has been slowed since late last week by extremely muddy conditions and high turbidity in the Oldman River due to the rapid snow melt and ice jams. Water conservation efforts are helping to prevent our storage levels from being depleted to levels that would force a boil water order. 

Turbid water is a challenge periodically every year, even when associated with high water in May and June. But there are two reasons for it being more challenging in February and March:

  • First is the water temperature. The chemical reactions that we depend on during water treatment are slower in cold water (ice cold last week). Further, the settling process prior to filtration is less effective, as cold water is denser than warm water (ex. 3 degrees C vs 15 degrees C).
  • Second is the rate at which river conditions can change. The ice jam last Thursday night, March 16, resulted in the river turbidity changing in just one hour from less than 500 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units) to more than 5,000 NTU. In comparison, June high water, even during the flood of 1995, can result in similar changes but over a period of three or four days. 

Following is a chronology of river turbidity levels recorded at the Water Treatment Plant since late last week:

Wednesday, March 15evening100 NTU
Thursday, March 16morning450 NTU
Thursday, March 16eveningOver 5,000 NTU
Friday, March 17morning1,800 NTU
Friday, March 17evening950 NTU
Saturday, March 18morning875 NTU
Saturday, March 18evening420 NTU
Sunday, March 19morning320 NTU
Sunday, March 19evening235 NTU
Monday, March 20morning240 NTU
Monday, March 20evening160 NTU
Tuesday, March 21morning140 NTU

We extend our hearty thanks to everyone in Lethbridge and in surrounding communities who are taking whatever steps they can to conserve water. Every act of conservation, big or small, makes a difference. Although residents may notice a different taste and smell in the water, we assure them that it's safe to drink.  

Until the situation improves, the City of Lethbridge has suspended the washing of City vehicles unless it is necessary for safety reasons. This includes police, fire, Transit and Public Operations vehicles. 

Additional updates will be provided when they become available. Additional information on water treatment and conservation is available at: www.lethbridge.ca/water.

 

UPDATE: Monday, March 20, 2017 11 a.m.

The City of Lethbridge is urging the community to continue limiting water usage as much as possible until further notice.  

Production of potable drinking water at the Water Treatment Plant has been slowed since late last week by extremely muddy conditions and high turbidity in the Oldman River due to the rapid snow melt and ice jams. Water conservation efforts are helping to prevent our storage levels from being depleted to levels that would force a boil water order. 

On an average day, the Water Treatment Plant produces 53 million litres of potable water, but since late last week, water production has slowed considerably, at times to less than half this volume. Water treatment staff continue working around the clock to restore water reserves to normal levels required for fire suppression and supply to the local community as well as regional water customers.  

We extend our hearty thanks to everyone in Lethbridge and in surrounding communities who are delaying activities such as washing cars, pressure washing driveways, using washing machines and dishwashers, and to those who are taking short showers to conserve water.  

Until the situation improves, the City of Lethbridge has suspended the washing of City vehicles unless it is necessary for safety reasons. This includes police, fire, Transit and Public Operations vehicles. 

Although residents may notice a different taste and smell in the water, we assure them that it's safe to drink. The City of Lethbridge also supplies water to surrounding communities including Coaldale, Coalhurst, Diamond City, Iron Springs, Monarch, Picture Butte and Turin. 

Additional updates will be provided when they become available. Additional information on water treatment and conservation is available at: www.lethbridge.ca/water.

 

UPDATE: Sunday, March 19, 2017

Our community effort to limit water usage is working. Thank you to everyone who is helping to conserve water. Please continue those efforts today. 

The main objective today for our water treatment plant staff is to try to restore water reserves to normal levels required for fire suppression and our drinking water supply. Our crews are working around the clock, and safe drinking water is always our Number 1 priority.  

We are hearing repeated concerns about car washes operating in the present situation. We remind the community that, at this point, our request is for all residents and businesses to limit their water use voluntarily. Delaying the washing of vehicles is an excellent way to help reduce water consumption until things return to normal.  

Tips on how you can limit your water usage: 

Refrain from all outdoor uses including car washing and restrict water usage to essential uses only such as cooking. 

Avoid using dishwashers, washing machines and taking long showers. 

Please do not hoard water, as this creates an increase in water consumption in a short period of time, adding to difficulties at the water plant.

 

UPDATE: Saturday, March 18, 2017

Big thanks to our community members who are limiting water usage. These efforts go a long way in helping out our Water Treatment Plant.   

For today, residents are asked to please continue those efforts so we can get back to regular operations as soon as possible. Our crews are working around the clock, and safe drinking water is always our Number 1 priority.  

As a reminder here is how you can limit your water usage:

Refrain from all outdoor uses including car washing and restrict water usage to essential uses only such as cooking. 

Avoid using dishwashers, washing machines and taking long showers. Please do not hoard water, as this creates an increase in water consumption in a short period of time, adding to difficulties at the water plant. 

Further updates will be provided when they become available.

 

Friday, March 17, 2017,  3 p.m.

The City of Lethbridge is asking the community to limit water usage. The quick melt and ice jams in the Oldman River are causing high turbidity in the river making the water difficult to treat at the Water Treatment Plant. Conservation will help maintain our storage levels until the plant can make adjustments, and help us to avoid a boil water order in the near future.

Residents and businesses should refrain from all outdoor uses including car washing and should restrict wate‎r usage to essential uses only such as cooking.

This also means avoiding using dishwashers, washing machines and taking long showers.

Residents are also asked not to hoard water, as this creates an increase in water consumption in a short period of time, adding to difficulties at the Plant.

The notice is in effect until further notice and residents are thanked in advance for their cooperation.

We will provide more information when it becomes available.

 

Media contact: 

Gerald Gauthier, Communications Consultant
City of Lethbridge
403-360-8697