Decision on water restrictions looms

Turner Valley: Town awaits tests results from wells

By: By Ian Tennant

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 01:33 pm

Water restrictions remain in place for the Towns of Turner Valley and Black Diamond. Turner Valley officials are testing its newest water sources before making a decision to drop its restrictions from level three to level two.
Water restrictions remain in place for the Towns of Turner Valley and Black Diamond. Turner Valley officials are testing its newest water sources before making a decision to drop its restrictions from level three to level two.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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The Town of Turner Valley will know after Aug. 8 whether it can ease up on water restrictions or keep them in place to help fill up the Town’s reservoir.

Chief Administrative Officer Barry Williamson said the good news is the Town’s four wells are up and running, in addition to an open infiltration pit near the Sheep River that is pumping water overland to the reservoir.

The Town is testing the wells and infiltration pit for turbidity and quality and to make sure “that they are not affecting one another,” said Williamson.

“We are looking for operational assurance and sustainability.”

He said officials will gather on Aug. 8 to look over test results and consider whether the level three restrictions currently in place can be dropped to level two, or whether the status quo has to remain.

Williamson said on July 29 the town’s reservoir had a 54-day supply of water.

It had been as low as 42, he added. The goal is to have a 100-day supply by the end of October.

Williamson said the water restrictions may be loosened, but was also cautious to not unduly raise residents’ hopes. The town wants to avoid a sudden rush to water dry lawns and gardens as frustrated residents emerge from restrictions that were imposed after the June 2013 flood.

He said the town has noticed water use has been climbing slightly despite the restrictions, further slowing down the push to fill up the reservoir.

Both Williamson and Mayor Kelly Tuck understand residents’ frustrations with the level three water restrictions.

“I know it’s been tough for a lot of people,” said Williamson.

Mayor Tuck said residents have been doing well with the restrictions, adding the Town acknowledges the sacrifices residents have made.

“We get that, we totally get that,” she said. “When you drive through Turner Valley everybody’s grass is dead, dead.”

Trying to fill the reservoir “has been a little trying,” Tuck said, but it has to be a priority.

“We have to ensure we have that water reservoir full and ready for winter,” she said.

The June 2013 flood destroyed two of Black Diamond’s three wells and its water treatment plant. It also knocked out two of Turner Valley’s three wells and the third well was cut off from the Town’s water system.

Turner Valley’s water treatment plant and reservoir sit on high ground so they were spared.

“The only thing that saved us is we had that reservoir in place,” said Williamson.

However, as a result of the flood Black Diamond had to turn to Turner Valley for water. A temporary line and then a permanent water line was constructed from Turner Valley to Black Diamond.

Water restrictions were implemented in both communities in an effort to conserve water. Residents are prohibited from filling pools, fountains and hot tubs, washing vehicles, sidewalks, driveways or outside structures and watering gardens and lawns. Fines can be levied if a resident is caught ignoring the water restrictions.

Residents are also being asked to conserve water by limiting their bathing, dish washing, laundry use and cleaning. In addition, they are being asked to only flush their toilets when necessary, for example, to get rid of solids.

Williamson said the Town wants the restrictions lifted, or reduced to level two, as much as anybody else. Level two would allow residents to use water outdoors but on alternating days as decided by the Town.


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