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Can’t compare water usage: Coalhurst Council

Posted on September 26, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

Factors such as weather and time of year make it hard to draw conclusions on usage during water restrictions.

During their regular Sept. 19 meeting, Coalhurst town council received a response to an inquiry about water usage in town.

Coun. Deborah Florence had asked Town Administration if there has been a notable difference in town water usage since asking residents to voluntarily take action to reduce water consumption. Following notification from the City of Lethbridge, the town put out their own notification on Aug. 18, where they asked residents to voluntarily take action to conserve water during a period of extended hot, dry weather.

Ultimately, while CAO Shawn Patience said that they were gathering numbers and could calculate the volume of water used since Aug. 18, they “can’t rationalize it against anything to determine whether the restriction had any impact whatsoever”.

“Obviously, it’s dictated a great deal by weather, so in comparison to 2022 it’s not that relevant because of different temperature regimes during that timeframe,” said Patience. “I don’t have the numbers yet, and I will provide them once I have them, but all I can say is we have no foundation from which to make an assertion that the restriction had either a positive or negative impact on our water usage.”

Patience noted that there was a week in August when they had rain, and they didn’t have rain in July, so they couldn’t compare the two months either. Additionally, as fall approaches, most people are reducing their landscape watering, so that affects water usage as well.

Coun. Heather Caldwell asked if there was a point where the Town’s water storage was significantly reduced, or if the town was at risk because there was more water leaving than what was coming in. Director of Operations Keith Lewis said they “have never been low in our reservoir”.

“There’s been days where there has been a lot of usage, and that’s the difficult part, which the CAO alluded to,” said Lewis. “You look past the 18th, and there’s days where water consumption is high and there’s days where water consumption is low. The nice thing about having the reservoir here is (it does) offer fire protection. So, it may drop down three or four feet, but overnight it does (fill) back up, and other days it may only go down a couple of feet. So it fluctuates, and water usage fluctuates day-to-day, depending mostly on weather conditions.”

Patience said going forward, they could show council how water usage varied month-to-month, but he couldn’t draw that “hard line”.

Council passed a motion to receive the report for information.

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