Calgary mayor lauds work of residents, city during ‘horrible’ water crisis

Mayor Jyoti Gondek has faced a barrage of criticism as she guided Calgary through a water main break that forced city residents and businesses to limit their water use for over a month.While the mayor says the experience has given her a deep appreciation of partnerships with everyone from the provincial government to the private sector, she said she believes Calgarians have learned something too — the true value of what comes out of their taps.“As horrible as it was for our city and region to deal with, I think it really shone a light on the fact that we have amazing human beings in this city and this region,” she said in an interview.

Gondek said she hears people talking about how their habits have changed to better conserve water and that they’re just happy their water is back on.“I hear much, much more of that than the negativity, and that’s what keeps me going.”It all began June 5, after a massive water main supplying 60 per cent of the drinking water for the city ruptured and flooded streets.

A directive was issued to have Calgarians cut their indoor water use by 25 per cent with fewer showers and toilet flushes. Car washes and indoor pools were also closed.Crews scrambled to repair the line and, in the process, found five more weak spots to fix, and the city declared a state of local emergency.

Following lengthy repairs, most restrictions have been lifted in the past week.Just ahead of July’s Calgary Stampede, the city lifted its state of emergency and gave residents the green light to ease back into normal indoor water usage.Gondek announced more relief Saturday in the form of fewer outdoor water restrictions — including the reopening of outdoor public pools.

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