Red Deer urging residents to conserve water

City of Red Deer officials say water levels are lower than they’ve ever seen and they are asking residents to do some conservation.

City of Red Deer officials say water levels are lower than they’ve ever seen and they are asking residents to do some conservation.

The low rainfall so far this summer has led to river flows below average throughout the Red Deer River watershed and could result in a water shortage.

“We’re not at a complete minimum, but water levels are lower than we’ve seen,” said Alex Monkman, Red Deer water superintendent.

“Especially when we have lower rainfall like this, we just need resident to be more aware of how much water they’re using. If you don’t need to water you lawn, then don’t.”

From June 1 to July 12, 55 mm of rain had fallen in the Red Deer area, according to Environment Canada. The average Red Deer rainfall in June is 84.1 mm and the average July rainfall is 92.2 mm.

To combat the rainfall shortage, the city is encouraging people to take some steps to conserve water:

l Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator rather than running water until it’s cold. This alone can save almost 10,000 litres per person annually.

l Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water when washing dishes by hand. This can save 46,000 litres per household annually.

l Check toilets or faucets for leaks. Try putting several drops of food colouring in the toilet tank. If, without flushing, the colour begins to appear in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes, a leak exists.

l Leave grass clippings on your lawn since they retain moisture.

l Water early in the morning to prevent evaporation in the afternoon.

l Don’t mow your lawn too frequently. Taller grass shades the soil, retaining moisture.

l Business owners are encouraged to introduce low-flow toilets, install aerators on faucets and ensure water conservation signage is in place in bathrooms and kitchens.

More water saving tips can be found at www.reddeer.ca/water.

According to Environment Canada, some rain is forecast for the near future. However, at most there is a 60 per cent chance of rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Today there is a 30 per cent chance of rain.

Other Central Alberta communities have already introduced more stringent water conservation programs.

Penhold has even/odd watering restrictions based on street address in effect.

Sylvan Lake has a mandatory water conservation program, including even/odd watering dates based on street address and daytime outdoor water use ban that runs until Sept. 30.

Lacombe issued a water conservation advisory on June 10, asking residents to water lawns less frequently.

And Innisfail also has even/odd water restrictions based on street address, except for residents with new sod.

Blackfalds has not issued a water ban or advisory yet. Blackfalds receives its water from the City of Red Deer through a regional pipeline.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com