Water restrictions in place in Okotoks, Turner Valley and High River
Summer heat likely cause of increased water use; some uses temporarily banned
Some communities south of Calgary worry they could run out of water if the hot conditions continue this summer.
Okotoks, Turner Valley and Black Diamond have all temporarily banned the use of hoses, sprinklers and outdoor swimming pools.
Okotoks Coun. Tanya Thorn says this summer's heat wave saw people using too much water, which depleted the town's emergency supply.
"The objective is to make sure that our residents have a safe, secure, drinking water supply and fire protection," she said.
"That's why we put it in place, because those are the two primary needs. Great to have a green lawn, but green lawn [or] safe, secure water supply? Green lawn, [or] fire protection? To me, it's a really easy choice."
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The town's spray park recycles its water using a closed loop system so it isn't affected by the ban, Thorn said.
"We're also lucky, Sikome Lake at the south end of Calgary is nearby so we've got some water sources to get out and cool off," she said.
"If you take a look at the river, it's being well-used."
The depth of the Sheep River running through Okotoks is generally about halfway up an adult's shin at this time of year, said Thorn, but is currently only about ankle deep in spots.
Thorn says officials found the water supply was recently at half its normal capacity, which was endangering reserves for fires and emergencies.
"If we're not managing it properly, there could be a time when you turn on the tap and the water isn't there, or we're doing boil water advisories, all of those things which make life in a household that much more complicated," she said.
The nearby towns of Turner Valley and Black Diamond have also issued outdoor water bans with fines for noncompliance. Residents in High River have restrictions on outdoor water use, but do not have a total ban.
Each town recommends also reducing water usage inside homes.
With files from Kate Adach