Airdrie surpasses water conservation goal in year one
AIRDRIE, AB – It has been one year since Airdrie introduced a Waterworks bylaw that encourages residents and businesses to conserve water through a year-round watering schedule. The City will continue to educate residents and businesses on the importance of water conservation in 2020, with an added focus on indoor water conservation.
“We surpassed our water conservation goal for last year, but it was a very rainy summer, so people may not have been watering as much as usual,” said Jennifer Sugden, Water Operations Program Coordinator. “Although last year might not be an accurate representation of schedule adoption, we learned a lot and that will help inform our education campaign in 2020.”
In 2019, Water Services educated residents at 10 events, though social media and through traditional channels like newspaper and postcards. They held two successful rain barrel sales, selling 310 barrels. They plan on hosting two additional rain barrel sales this year.
By collecting rainwater in a rain barrel, planting drought-tolerant plants, following the new watering schedule and ensuring toilets and faucets don’t leak, residents and businesses can reduce their water bill and help our city be more sustainable.
To learn more about water conservation, complete a water exception permit or print-off a water schedule, visit www.airdrie.ca/waterconservation
Water Operations Program Coordinator, Water Services
403.948.8800 ext. 6373
Water is a finite resource that needs to be protected
The City of Airdrie purchases water from the City of Calgary who collects it from the Bow and Elbow Rivers and treats it. From Airdrie reservoirs, it is pumped to smaller distribution pipes where it flows to our homes and businesses.
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.
- Install low flow faucets and toilets
- Take shorter showers
- Turn water off while shampooing hair
- Turn water off when brushing teeth
- Use left over water to water plants
- Only run dishwasher when full
- Only do full loads of laundry
- Install a high-efficiency front loading washing machine that uses less water
- Look for leaks in your home (using toilet dye tabs)
- Plant native/drought resistant plants
- Install drip irrigation
- Switch out grass for xeroscaping
- Collect rainwater using rain barrels or a rain garden
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 using collected rain water (rain barrel) or using a handheld watering can or a hose attached to a handheld spray nozzle can be done at any time.
The bylaw 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.
If residents have planted new seed or sod, they can apply for an exception permit at www.airdrie.ca/waterconservation. During the first year of implementation, Water Services issued 204 exception permits.
Recreational use of water
Kids running through sprinklers and filling up kiddie pools are covered under the recreational water bodies section of the Bylaw, meaning both activities are allowed unless a water shortage is declared.
The City’s focus will continue to be on education versus enforcement. 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.