The Red Deer River. (Contributed photo).

City of Red Deer encourages voluntary water restrictions

They will ensure drinking water supply and relieve stress on treatment plant

Red Deerians shouldn’t wait for a drought to put water conservation practices in place, says a city manager.

Local residents are being asked to voluntarily water their lawn or gardens according to the odd or even day of the month, based on address number.

They are also being asked to water at non-peak times of day, and to use commercial car washes instead of washing their vehicles at home — since this makes more efficient use of water.

The city’s new guidelines are designed to set standards and alleviate pressure on the local water treatment plant, said Alex Monkman, water superintendent for the city.

The new guidelines will go into effect annually May 1 and will be lifted Oct. 1. Monkman said they come out of the Water Conservation, Efficiency and Production Plan that was passed in 2016, but had not yet been fully implemented.

He affirmed the flow rate of the Red Deer River is still normal, “and we don’t have any major concerns.” But that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t be concerned about water conservation.

Several stages are itemized in the plan. Stage 1 means conditions are normal, but that people should be voluntarily limiting their water usage. Stages 2, 3 and 4 would be enacted based on dry weather conditions and a much reduced river flow.

They would involve enforced rules on water use to deal with an emergency shortage. Any person or business that does not comply will face a warning, fine, or stoppage of service.

Monkman said the chances of Red Deer having to enact a Stage 2, 3 or 4 water restriction is unlikely, based on historic weather patterns. “But we’ve put these guidelines in place to ensure we are prepared…

“We wanted to have a process… to ensure citizens continue to have access to clean, safe drinking water.”

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The Red Deer River has its source in the Rocky Mountains. The flow gradually slows through the Badlands. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Ian McKinnon).

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