Town Water Restriction Highlights Severe Drought

Outlook cuts back consumption by 50% in two days

The Town of Outlook’s recent water restriction that affected residents last week may have ruffled a few feathers and produced its share of criticisms among taxpayers, but it also highlighted the extremely dry drought conditions that have caused virtually the entire province of Saskatchewan to beg for rainfall.

The water restriction was enacted on Tuesday afternoon, June 4 beginning at 3:00 pm by order of Outlook Mayor Ross Derdall, with no water to be used except for household and hygienic use.  The reasoning was said to be due to the level of the water at the river intake point, as well as the extreme heat.  Water quality had not been compromised.

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Just less than 48 hours later, the restriction was lifted on Thursday as of 1:00 pm.  The Town of Outlook issued a notice thanking residents for their cooperation, and also revealed that the town had reduced water consumption by more than 50% during the restriction.

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The raw water intake system in the river, sticking high out of the water due to extremely low levels. - Luke Lockhart

On his Facebook page, Luke Lockhart, the Town’s Superintendent of Municipal Operations, posted photos and video clips that helped provide a visual representation of what the increasingly dry conditions and severe heat have done to contribute to the low water intake and subsequent restriction.  The first photo is the town’s raw water intake in the South Saskatchewan River, which is shown to be sticking high out of the water.  The second photo shows the floc chambers at the water treatment plant that are covered in a thick mat of algae, which can form very quickly when bodies of water are so low.

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The floc chambers at Outlook's water treatment plant, covered with algae that forms when the river is low. - Luke Lockhart

Video footage also showed a shop vacuum being used to remove as much of the algae as possible so that it wouldn’t seep into the water filters, as well as another clip that showed a backwash of the filters to remove algae and other contaminants that typically come with low river levels.

The aftermath of the water restriction in Outlook has not led to a boil water advisory at this time and the Town has enacted its contingency plan, with emergency measures put in place at the water intake point.

© The Outlook

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