The City of Airdrie purchases water from the City of Calgary who collects it from the Bow and Elbow Rivers. The water is treated by the City of Calgary and travels to Airdrie reservoirs through a big pipe. From there, it is pumped to smaller distribution pipes where it flows to our homes and businesses.
Water is a finite resource that needs to be protected
The Bow and Elbow rivers are fed by ground and surface water in the form of glacier melt, snow melt and rain. The glacier that feeds the Bow River has seen significant depletion over the past few decades. Climate change is making other sources, like rain and snowmelt, more unreliable. In short, water is a finite resource that needs to be conserved.
In February of 2019, Airdrie City Council approved a new waterworks bylaw that supports Council’s strategy of being a leader in sustainability and will help us, as a city, reduce our water usage. As well as being the right thing to do, it can also save you money. By collecting rain water in a rain barrel, planting drought-tolerant plants, following the new watering schedule and ensuring your toilets and faucets don’t leak, you can reduce your water bill and help our city be more sustainable.
New waterworks bylaw
The new bylaw encourages residents and businesses to conserve water through a watering schedule and other restrictions that would take effect during a water shortage. The bylaw was introduced after Council approved a water conservation policy and water conservation, efficiency and productivity plan in 2018. The City of Airdrie water services team spent the summer of 2018 educating residents on water conservation.
Residents and businesses with an address ending in even numbers can water lawns, gardens, trees and shrubs on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 6 to 9 a.m., 7 to 10 p.m. or 1 to 4 a.m. with an automated irrigation system. Addresses ending in odd numbers can water Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Not watering on Friday allows the reservoir to replenish in time for the weekend, which is when the City sees the highest demand. This schedule encourages watering during the coolest time of the day, which reduces evaporation. Watering with water from a rain barrel or in a handheld watering can or a hose attached to a handheld spray nozzle can be done at any time as it is less likely water is overused than when using sprinklers and other automated systems.
The bylaw also includes level one, two or three water-use restrictions. Level one is status quo (water schedule in place). In level two or three, different restrictions come into place. Level two would be declared in times of drought or floods or other water-supply challenges. Level three would be declared if Airdrie was facing serious challenges providing water. This would usually effect a wider area than Airdrie.
For 2019 the City will be focused on educating residents about the new bylaw and how they can save water. Municipal enforcement is a complaint-based system so the intention is not for officers to be timing how long sprinklers are on. It does, however, give the City recourse if people are abusing water.
Change like this requires some getting used to. The spirit of the bylaw is to get residents and businesses to join the conservation effort in a continued effort towards a sustainable Airdrie.
Learn more tips for saving money and conserving water at airdrie.ca/waterconservation