City of Edmonton continues to monitor water levels on North Saskatchewan River https://t.co/gm3OcpJoa3
— Global Edmonton (@GlobalEdmonton) August 25, 2016
The North Saskatchewan River is starting to drop, after cresting early Thursday morning.
The City of Edmonton says the river levels were almost four metres higher than normal around midnight. As of noon, the water had dropped nine inches.
“There is always the possibility that any recent rain in the upstream of Edmonton will result in water starting to rise again, so until it drops significantly to more normal levels we are still warning everybody to be very, very cautious around the riverbanks, around the river, stay off the river,” Chris Ward, branch manager of Utility Services said.
“Low-lying areas around the banks may have eroded and could be quite unstable,” Acting Deputy Chief of Operations with Edmonton Fire Rescue Bill Brown said. “Heavy debris from trees have been swept into the river system upstream, and continue to pose a hazard to river users for many days to come.”
The flood gates remain closed, and will be closed until the river levels drop even further, and a number of trails are still closed as the water recedes.
“The North Saskatchewan River is a powerful, deceptive, and fast moving river, and with an increase in water levels the river is considerably more powerful and quick moving at this time,” said Brown.
— Ken Block (@yegfirechief) August 25, 2016
EPCOR updated a request to the Edmonton area to reduce non-essential water usage Friday morning. Because of the increased water and debris in the river, EPCOR cannot keep up with the demand for potable water.
Spokesperson Tim LeRiche said they hope their customers refrain from using non-essential water for the weekend. “The water is safe to drink. By all means, people can go ahead and do that.
“But if our customers could do very simple things like turn off the water while they’re brushing their teeth or shaving, take a quick shower instead of a bath, and please don’t water lawns or wash vehicles.”
LeRiche also said EPCOR is going to re-evaluate the situation, and determine how well the city’s two water treatment plants are handling and ultimately cleaning the flow of dirty water, on Monday.
Ward says the reduction request affects the city as well.
“Non-essential water usage, in my business (means), we do a lot of flushing of sewers,” said Ward. “We will be controlling our flushing of sewers for the next week. And then once the EPCOR water is back to normal, we will continue to flush our sewers.”
The city will also hold off on watering greenery and washing city vehicles.
Potable water is held in 12 reservoirs around the city which provides a two-or-three day cushion, if Edmontonians restrict non-essential water use, that cushion can be extended.
— EPCOR (@EPCOR) August 25, 2016
— EPCOR (@EPCOR) August 25, 2016
The rising water levels is making things difficult for the oil spill recovery on the North Saskatchewan River in Saskatchewan. Cleanup will have to be suspended once the water levels in that province rise, but the Environment Ministry isn’t worried about getting the cleanup done before the river freezes in October.
“Husky and operations feel that that is sufficient time to finish the remainder of the cleanup, once they can get back on the water,” Wes Kotyk with the ministry said.
Ward says there a chance that high rain levels west of Edmonton could cause the water to rise again, and his crew is keeping a close eye on levels. (kb/km/rk)