June 24th, 2024

City council approves water rationing plan

By Lethbridge Herald on May 28, 2024.

Herald file photo - Sprinklers water an area golf course earlier this spring. The City says the goal of its updated water rationing plan is to educate residents about conserving water.

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

City council on Tuesday gave unanimous approval to the updated water rationing plan.

Council gave second and third readings to Bylaw 6445 – Amending Bylaw to Bylaw 3999- water bylaw.

The goal of the water plan, Director of Infrastructure Services Joel Sanchez told council, is to educate people about conserving water. Currently, residents are being asked to voluntarily conserve water.

Councillor Rajko Dodic, in speaking on the motion, called the water rationing plan a pro-active step so if the worst happens and the City has to mandate water rationing, the bylaw provides that authority.

In response to concerns raised by deputy mayor Jeff Carlson on proposed watering times and limits, council was told the intent of the plan is to reduce water runoff and excess water use

Carlson told his colleagues he never waters for two hours in a day but rather applies water for several minutes every other day to his vegetable garden.

If the City has to implement the first stage of the plan residents would be allowed to water up to two hours on their blue or black cart day. And outdoor watering would be allowed only before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on designated days.

The plan contains five different stages and affects not only Lethbridge residents and industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) users but also regional customers and the City itself.

The City says cooler temperature and recent precipitation have increased the levels of reservoirs in southern Alberta with the Oldman, St. Mary’s and Waterton reservoirs being at the low end of normal.

“At this time, we are not enacting the Water Rationing Action Plan. We ask that everyone continue to look for ways to voluntarily conserve water in their homes and businesses,” said Mark Svenson, Manager of Engineering and Environment, in a prepared statement to media after the plan was approved. 

“We thank the community for continuing voluntary conservations measures. We are monitoring the situation and will respond with mandatory measures if needed.”

An update by the City last week showed that  the Oldman River reservoir was sitting at 62 per cent of capacity, still down from the normal range between 68 and 89 per cent.

The St. Mary Reservoir has risen to 63 per cent of capacity. The normal for this time of the year is between 69 and 83 per cent.

The Waterton Reservoir is also sitting at 62 per cent of capacity, down from the normal level of 69 to 83 per cent.

Earlier in the month most reservoirs were only about 50 per cent of capacity, according to recent reports. In early April the Oldman Reservoir was only about 32 per cent of capacity while the St. Mary’s was at 20 per cent.

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Southern Albertan

…and so it starts. The week of June 6th to 12th daytime predicted highs of 27 to 28 with no rain in sight with southwest winds in the 30s, gusting into the 40s and 50s….a formula for really drying things up.

Citi Zen

I take offence to Director of Infrastructure Services Joel Sanchez comment “to educate people about conserving water”. The reference to educating the public is derogatory and condescending, suggesting that the taxpayer, who pays his salary, is uneducated or stupid in the matter of water conservation, and that he knows better. Perhaps a better wording would have been to raise awareness, or to encourage. I believe most Lethbridge residents are pretty savvy about watching their water usage, and don’t need a City Hall bureaucrat like Sanchez “educating” them.
The City should have vetted his comments before letting him make a statement, or is this the intent of City Hall as well?
We don’t want or need City Hall employees “educating” us! .  

Guy Lethbridge

Simply paying taxes does not preclude you from being neither uneducated nor stupid.

They are trying to get ahead of this thing , give them a chance and let them do their job .

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