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Calgary mayor wants wide survey of water lines after catastrophic break

Calgarians are being urged to keep reducing their water use as work to repair a major water main stretches into a second day in Calgary on Friday, June 7, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY — Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek has promised a wide-ranging examination of the city's underground infrastructure as it enters its third week of water use restrictions after a catastrophic pipeline break.

"I want to be sure we have a clear line of sight about what our infrastructure looks like under the ground," Gondek said Friday.

She said she will bring the issue before city council next week.

"I'm going to be asking important questions to find out what we need in the budget, so we have the technology and inspection methods that are needed to understand the type of state our water infrastructure is in."

Gondek said she will be "calling in all favours" from the provincial and federal governments to make sure the job gets done.

The city is also in the process of striking a panel to conduct a third-party review of how the situation has been handled.

"The review going to be guided by an expert panel from academia, the water industry, water utilities management and government entities," said Michael Thompson, general manager of infrastructure for the city.

"Our team has already been meeting with industry associations and other municipalities to start to figure out who will form the panel."

Since the pipe break on June 5, Calgarians have been asked to reduce their water use by a quarter as repairs are conducted to the main, which carried 60 per cent of the city's water.

Those restrictions were extended after repair crews found another five spots in the pipe that were nearing failure.

Two workers were also injured, with one remaining under a doctor's care and the other back on the job.

Gondek has said the repair work could be done as early as July 5, the opening day of the Calgary Stampede. But she warned that the repairs could take longer.

She said the city is in talks with surrounding communities to truck in water for both crowds and livestock at the annual fair and rodeo.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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