By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
The Town of Coaldale is calling on residents to do their part conserving water as persistent hot and dry temperatures are causing shortages in storage basins in the region.
Several southern Alberta water basins are experiencing lower than usual water levels at this point in the year.
Following several updates since the start of the irrigation season, St. Mary River Irrigation District (SMRID) published an update from General Manager, Dave Westwood on Aug. 16, informing irrigators “the drought conditions persist in Southern Alberta and the headworks and our internal reservoir storage levels are significantly below average for this time of the irrigation season.”
Westwood said in the notice the SMRID has observed a decline in usage over the past week as crops reach maturity, and harvest season is underway, but said SMRID will continue to monitor District usage and storage daily and provide updates as is necessary.
The Town of Coaldale issued a notice the following day urging residents to do their part in conserving water.
“Voluntary action now will help prevent the need for mandatory restrictions in the coming days and weeks,” reads the Town statement. Businesses and residents alike have been asked to “take whatever actions they can, big or small, to aid in the conservation effort as extended dry and hot conditions continue in the coming weeks.
The Town says they will be reducing consumption by deferring washing Town-owned vehicles for the time being, except in cases where safety/visibility is a factor. As well the Town said they will reduce watering in feature parks, schools and sports fields by 25 per cent and non-feature parks and boulevards by 50 per cent.
The City of Lethbridge is also encouraging residents to be mindful of their consumption, and has published a list of conservation tips at https://www.lethbridge.ca/news/posts/residents-and-businesses-asked-to-conserve-water/, which includes:
Limiting lawn watering, car washing; not running the tap unnecessarily, minimizing bath levels and shower time, and using the dishwasher/washing machine only when necessary, as well as aiming to reuse water where possible.
Westwood added the irrigation district’s goal is to allow irrigators to continue irrigating “well into September,” but said if supplies decrease faster than expected, they will need to implement a system shut down.