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Water Conservation FAQs

We know the community has a lot of questions about water scarcity. Answers to most of these questions are in the Water Conservation Plan and Strategy (WCPAS). Here are answers to some of the more common inquiries.


As of May 14, 2024, the City of Lethbridge has not implemented the Water Rationing Action Plan (WRAP). An updated version of the WRAP includes new reduction targets and violation charges. The proposed bylaw amendment for the WRAP goes to City Council on May 14 for further discussion. Meanwhile, we ask the community to continue voluntary conservation efforts.

Many factors will contribute to any future restrictions. These include reservoir levels, mountain snowpack measurements, the water supply outlook and the discretion of the Engineer. On April 19, the province announced voluntary water-sharing agreements (WSA). Major water license holders in southern Alberta (including the City of Lethbridge) agree to cut water use during severe droughts. Lethbridge’s WSA is with the City of Medicine Hat, Lethbridge County and the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District. Once activated, it’s anticipated the WSA will move Lethbridge to Stage One of the WRAP. This could happen by the end of May.

While drafting the Water Conservation Plan and Strategy, the City collected feedback from residents and businesses/organizations. An online survey was conducted in early 2024. It received 3,997 responses, an all-time record for the Get Involved Lethbridge website. The findings were released in a robust What We Heard Report in April of 2024. Public engagement continued at the in-person Community Conversation event held at the ENMAX Centre on April 25, 2024.

The City also engaged with regional stakeholders in a series of one-on-one conversations.


We understand the importance and prevalence of vegetable gardens in Lethbridge. When using a sprinkler, focus on high value assets like food producing gardens and trees. Outdoor watering restrictions in the WRAP aim to avoid runoff to ditches, swales, storm drains and gutters. The outdoor restrictions do not include using handheld containers to water outdoors until Stage Four.

The WCPAS features economic measures to help invest in water conservation. This includes incentive programs for rain barrels. The City will not provide rain barrels. Instead, future available grant money can offer rebates. Rebate programs are also planned for water efficient toilets and xeriscaping. The City will release details once funding information is available.

Southern Alberta agriculture producers are doing their part to conserve water. Water allocation for the St. Mary River Irrigation District and Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District is currently set at eight inches per acre. This represents an approximately 50 per cent reduction from normal, highlighting their dedication to ensuring sufficient water supplies across southern Alberta.

The City of Lethbridge does not have oversight of water usage by local golf courses. Some courses have individual licenses through the province. Others receive their water from the St. Mary’s River Irrigation District or the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District. As an example, Henderson Lake Golf Course receives its water from Henderson Lake, supplied through the St. Mary’s River Irrigation District. The province continues to encourage all water license holders in the Oldman River Basin (including local golf courses) to meet the same requirements as the signatories to the Oldman River Basin Water Sharing Agreement, including the City of Lethbridge.

Reservoir Levels

These are the current water levels in reservoirs feeding the Oldman River. These will be updated every week.

As of May 13, 2024

Oldman Reservoir

Current storage: 47%
Normal for this time of year: 65% to 87%

St. Mary Reservoir
Current storage: 51%
Normal for this time of year: 63% to 81%

Waterton Reservoir
Current storage: 28%
Normal for this time of year: 61% to 74%


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