WATER SUPPLY DRYING UP
The Okotoks water park sits deserted amid a ban on outdoor water use, as persistent hot and dry weather has prompted the move in several southern Alberta towns.
Parched conditions have led the province to issue 40 water shortage advisories across Alberta, with some towns south of Calgary banning outdoor use.
Of those advisories, 17 apply to river sections in the Calgary region, including the Bow and Elbow, in which voluntary angling moratoriums in most cases have been posted due to lower water levels and higher temperatures that are stressing aquatic life.
But for the Sheep and Highwood rivers and Fish Creek, it goes further to include no more temporary diversion licences being accepted, while in the North Saskatchewan River Basin, that’s been extended to restrictions on licensed water withdrawals.
For the past week, the town of Okotoks has banned nearly all outdoor use of water due to the sharp drop in the flow of the Sheep River and soaring demand amid the relentless summer heat.
Bans have also been put in place in the nearby towns of Black Diamond and Turner Valley, while softer restrictions are in effect in High River.
“Basically, it comes in as supply and demand, and we have a supply problem that goes a long way back,” said Okotoks Coun. Tanya Thorn.
Lawn watering, vehicle washing, filling of pools and other uses are prohibited for the foreseeable future, she said, measures last taken a decade ago.
The measure has succeeded, dropping Okotoks’ water use from 15 million litres a day to 7.2 million litres, said Thorn.