Lethbridge faces record low reservoir level as winter looms

0
Oldman River
In September, the Municipal District of Pincher Creek was unable to pump water from the Oldman reservoir due to drought conditions. Photo Credit: LindaPhotography, stock.adobe.com

With water volume in Lethbridge’s Oldman Reservoir at its lowest level since it was built in the early 1990s, the dry 2023 experienced by the Alberta city is leading local officials to look ahead for water management over the winter.

As a precautionary measure, city staff are dredging the water treatment plant intake canal to remove sediment that could limit the intake’s hydraulic capacity. This will reduce the risk of deep freezing under any low flow conditions during the winter, local officials announced.

“The City of Lethbridge is monitoring reservoir levels and works with the Provincial Government to assure our community water supply,” said Doug Kaupp, general manager of Water and Wastewater Services, in a statement to media on November 1. “There is no current risk, but we continue to plan and prepare and certainly acknowledge the need for significant precipitation in the months ahead,” he added. 

Lethbridge is a regional hub for water and wastewater treatment services to more than 133,000 southern Albertans in the city and surrounding region. In August, the city asked residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve water, which saw a 20% reduction in peak water consumption.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

The latest environmental engineering news direct to your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Prior to the construction of the Oldman Dam, natural river flows were sufficient to supply Lethbridge with water, but left the community with zero on-stream storage on the Oldman River.

In September, the Municipal District of Pincher Creek was unable to pump water from the Oldman reservoir due to drought conditions.

Alberta is currently in water shortage management stage 4 (out of 5), where multiple water management areas are impacted by water shortage. Stage 5 would be an emergency under the Water Act, recognizing a significant risk to human health and safety due to insufficient water supply.

Under the current stage, a water shortage strategy is developed with input from key stakeholders to mitigate the impacts of water shortage and manage water resources in a way that meets provincial obligations, as well as the needs of water users and the aquatic environment.

No posts to display

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here