Sylvan Lakers are being told to turn down the taps to prevent the town’s well from running dry.
In light of the hot temperatures, peak summer water use and limited infrastructure, the lakeside town is banning residents and businesses from any kind of outdoor water usage.
Dave Brand, the town’s director of public works, said the increased water usage has placed immense pressure on the town’s reservoirs.
The town is not hooked up to a regional water service and draws its water from a well.
“We only have a finite capacity of water that we can pull from the ground to reach our reservoirs,” said Brand. “When we use more than what we can pull, that starts to cause a little bit of a problem.”
A water well study is underway to look at sourcing a new well to address the supply issue in the short and medium term for the town of about 13,000 residents.
Brand said the town wants to ensure residents have enough water for household things such as bathing and dishes but also for potential emergency situations such as a fire.
The only exception is for new lawns. Residents with newly-planted lawns are asked to hand water only after 7 p.m. and before noon.
The ban includes watering lawns, washing vehicles, filling outdoor pools and pressure washing such things as driveways and decks.
While the ban is directed at outdoor use, residents are asked to conserve water inside, too.
Town staffers went door-to-door on Monday to inform residents about the water ban, which will be in effect until further notice.
In Red Deer, the city does not have any plans to ban water usage, said Tom Warder, the city’s Environmental Services Department manager.
“So far, so good,” said Warder. “Our summer use is up. … Our use is up but we have enough capacity in the plant to service everything that we are being asked for right now.”
Warder said the city encourages residents to use water conservatively because excessive usage taxes the system.
Meanwhile, a fire ban is in effect for all of Red Deer County. Recent high temperatures have created dry conditions that can easily lead to grass or brush fire growing out of control.