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Presser: Water Reductions Advisory

By April 22, 2024No Comments

This spring, and effective immediately, we’re implementing a Water Reductions Advisory, asking Calgarians to reduce their water use and make every drop count. As more and more people begin their outdoor yard work, it is important to remember that Alberta continues to experience high levels of drought. Together, we can make every drop count and help manage water supply in the Bow and Elbow Rivers.

“Calgarians can start now with reducing outdoor water use, as a lot of us begin our yard work this spring,” says Nicole Newton, manager of Natural Environment and Adaptation. “Residents can start limiting outdoor watering to early morning and later in the evening and keeping it to a maximum four hours a week. It’s a good, responsible approach to yard and gardening efforts in Calgary’s dry climate and prepares Calgarians for drier conditions when restrictions are in place later this season.”

Other impactful actions that we are recommending Calgarians take include avoid watering during or after it has rained, choosing drought-tolerant plants, watering early morning or evening, and collecting rainwater in rain barrels for garden use. Indoors, impactful actions include limiting shower time, only running full loads of clothes and dishes, fixing leaky faucets and turning off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.

“Calgary has remained in drought conditions since we lifted the water restrictions last fall”, explains Newton. “At The City of Calgary, we’ve continued to reduce our water use and look for more ways to conserve in our day-to-day operations. This spring, we’re strongly advising Calgarians join us in the effort. It’s the perfect time of year for us to ramp up awareness and for citizens to start taking action. We’re so thankful for Calgarians stepping up in the past, which is encouraging for this year’s efforts. We saw it make a big difference to preserve our water supply, protect river health and ensure available water for downstream users who depend on this vital resource.”

“Calgarians can do their part to conserve water and take action now,” says Mayor Gondek. “Additional restrictions may be required as conditions change throughout the season. We will be taking steps to ensure any changes are communicated quickly and clearly, and as early as possible to give Calgarians the necessary time to adapt.”

In June, The City will bring forward changes to the water utility bylaw and an update to Calgary’s drought response. This action will position The City to be more responsive to changing drought conditions. It will include introducing a permanent and staged outdoor watering schedule that will help support a transition to outdoor water restrictions. When the bylaw is passed, we plan to implement the appropriate watering schedule stage as soon as possible, working with Calgarians and businesses so they understand the requirements.

Moving forward, we will continue to monitor many indicators, especially how quickly the mountain snowpack melts, and the amount of spring rains our region receives to inform the upcoming water restriction later this season.

The Government of Alberta is also stepping up to support Alberta’s drought conditions. This morning, they announced the finalization of water-sharing agreements, including one for the Bow River Basin. The announcement acknowledged the signatories, which include Calgary and other municipalities, food producers, energy providers, and others across southern Alberta. These memorandums of understanding reflect the collaborative, practical and thoughtful approach to water management that we have seen in southern Alberta’s river basins for many years.

If the Bow River water sharing agreement is activated this season, in response to conditions in the Bow River Basin, Calgary is committed to implementing drought response measures that collectively could achieve a 5-10 per cent reduction in overall water use.

Calgary and Calgary businesses have demonstrated their commitment to responsible water use. Despite population growth in Calgary, we have seen stable overall demand for water. Thank you, everyone, for doing your part.

For more information on drought in Calgary and actions you can take, please visit

Sean Chu

Sean Chu arrived in Calgary from Taiwan in 1985 speaking not a word of English, and within 7 years he was a sworn officer with the Calgary Police Service. From that point on Sean worked with the Calgary Police Service as on Officer for 21 years in a number of roles until 2013.

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