Calgary’s water crisis just got worse... and permanent?

There appears to be no end in sight for the city’s water issues, but the source of the problem has been detected at City Hall.

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Calgary’s entire treated water supply has and continues to be crippled by a water main burst that occurred on June 5 this year, putting 1.7 million Albertans' lives and businesses at risk.

First, they said it would take a week to go back to normal, but the three weeks of this crisis so far have revealed a second even greater catastrophe on the horizon, which may plague the city for decades to come.

A supposed incident review by the city has yet to take place, but this new crisis is not just buried underground, it’s in City Hall, and could cost billions in taxpayer dollars.

Mayor Gondek is now trying to cover up this shocking neglect of city infrastructure with reactive budget changes focused on utility rate hikes and enforcement of permanent residential water use restrictions.

This serves as a staunch warning to every city in the country. If immigration and climate activism are what your mayor's focused on, be prepared for your quality of life to go down rapidly.

The future of Alberta’s largest city is in peril, and the real questions now are, how long will they restrict our water use, who will pay most for this shameful governance failure, and how did we get here?

We spoke with Calgarians near the construction to get their reaction to this prolonged disaster. We also sat down with Ward 13 Councillor Dan McLean, at City Hall to provide an insider's perspective on the situation.

For more context on the situation, check out part one of this story where I detail the feeder main burst, impact on remaining infrastructure, and the effects this has on Calgarians, at FireGondek.com, and if you like what we do please consider donating to support our on the ground work through that link.

In 2020 the city documented their framework for Calgary’s water secure future and came up with three supposedly key factors. First there’s climate change and the effect this has on water demands. Second is water licencing limits implemented through monitoring & controlled water use. Third there’s population growth, impacting the volume of water we collectively need to consume through the system.

This wheel of death was from the previous administration but is exactly what the current mayor has distracted herself with during this water crisis, and by every account it has failed us spectacularly.

On the climate aspect, as soon as Mayor Gondek was elected in 2021 with only 176,344 votes out of roughly 1.3 million people, her first priority was to declare a climate emergency. This was not directed at any particular weather events, and instead this was just her placating to the globalist 2050 agenda narrative with taxpayer resources.

In her own 2022 “Climate Action Strategies Report”, the city only mentions water treatment operations in regards to climate risks. They say water quality will supposedly decrease because of climate change, while boasting of a new solar panel addition at the Bearspaw water treatment plant that was cut off from the city because of unexpected infrastructure collapse.

With all the mayor's concerns for Calgarians having too much water, or not having any, she put zero consideration into preserving any of this valuable resource.

Two days after my question, the city started allowing residents to access non-potable water upstream to offset their losses, even if only in a very minimal capacity. That’s around two billion liters of treated drinking water down the river in the first two weeks that Calgarians and businesses have been starved since this crisis began. All so we can maintain our new daily sustainable water use limits, as dictated by the city.

Catastrophic failure could have been avoided, but at least we’re on track with their 2030 water starving agenda, which states that our city’s infrastructure may be consistently unable to supply treated water to Calgarians. These ambitions are deeply aligned with globalist initiatives on water restraining like we see from the United Nations and World Economic Forum.

Back up to March this year, when the Mayor warned of a drought which never happened, but was still used as justification to promote residential water use restrictions.

She even flirted at this again during our current infrastructure crisis. Though postponed, regulated water restrictions came regardless.

Since the feeder main broke, the mayor has maintained these mandatory water restrictions on businesses and residents. In part this is outlined under their stage 4 measures which threaten $3,000 fines for non-compliance. Activities using city water like the following were prohibited:

  • Watering gardens or using automatic sprinkler systems
  • Filling pools or fountains
  • Washing any outdoor surfaces, or vehicles
  • Use of water for construction purposes

But you can try to capture rainwater. The city also took to providing links to their snitch line so neighbours could call authorities on each other over water misuse, causing division within community members. Reminds me of what Nenshi did during COVID.

For businesses dependant on water consumption, such as car washing facilities which have been shamed and were required to halt operations by the city, no compensation is being considered, and Mayor Gondek has begged Calgarians to reduce personal hygienic measures en masse since this crisis began.

On July 2 the city ended their forced closure of car washes, and allowed pools to resume operations. They kept stage 4 restrictions, but have now stopped begging for indoor water use reduction measures at this time.

Much, if not all of the mayor’s framework for handling this situation has been derived from her climate action agendas, even if she won’t admit it.

On June 25, in the 12 publicly available minutes of a nine-hour Strategic Meeting of Council video session held behind closed doors, Calgary’s General Manager of Operational Services Doug Morgan tells a different story. He says currently implemented water use restrictions in relation to the infrastructure crisis are largely part of the principles derived from our drought planning.

So what’s next? The second phase of repairs has begun and continues to demand reduced water use and has opened the door on supposedly prolonged infrastructure issues.

On current repairs, the city introduced a new phased approach, and said the highest level of risk is re-implementation. This would also mean staged easing of water restrictions.

Instead of focusing on maintaining the city’s critical infrastructure, the mayor has financed climate action to another level, leaving us in a prolonged state of crisis which she says requires extended residential water use restrictions. Forget being proactive or having contingencies in place to protect 1.7 million Albertans treated water supply, the city would rather use the moment to revamp their drought water use restrictions.

Instead of pacing the city’s growth, Mayor Gondek has facilitated a drastic increase in international immigrants arriving to the city since her administration took office, even though she doesn’t know what level of growth our currently crumbling infrastructure can maintain.

Gondek has also gone against the will of Calgarians and around the province to acquire financing from Trudeau’s federal government in Ottawa to promote mass densification plans.

Higher housing costs have resulted amid our already growing homelessness crisis, and our very way of life is being forcibly altered to compensate for the increased population growth. This has resulted in serious concerns as to the sustainability of our city’s rapid growth, and the impact Calgarians are now facing in regards to physical health, personal liberties, and future security.

Mayor Gondek is so focused on housing that before providing non-potable water for Calgarians suffering through current residential water restrictions at their homes as mentioned previously, she chose to first make sure more houses could continue to be built. She put immigrant housing ahead of Calgarians livelihoods.

The city has also been actively ignoring our infrastructure problems. Warning signs of failure were available, and changing stories were being told as to the condition of our infrastructure. A perpetual state of critical infrastructure breaks repairs that would plague the city for decades could be next, thanks to continued governance by politically distracted mayors.

As for the rest of Canada, cities like Winnipeg brag of redundancies in place that prevent such catastrophes. Other cities like Stewiacke, N.S. took Calgary’s situation to heart, reevaluating their ability to implement rapid development and populating growth plans. Other places like Quebec City have taken the opposite approach, who are now fining 35% of their population with thousands of dollars for water misuse after a water main break.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Calgary has also dropped from being the 3rd most livable city in the world in 2022, Gondek’s first full year as Mayor, to being 5th place currently. This should serve as a warning to the rest of the province, if Alberta wants to import as many immigrants as possible placate to climate hysteria, be ready for YOUR quality of life to go down in drastic ways.

As a small note, the city has also not been transparent as to what’s actually in our remaining treated water, but that will have to wait for another report.

Gondek has begun restricting residential water use for the purpose of sustaining treated water supply for locals, and only now is she realizing her mass development plans for greater immigration may completely hinder our ability to supply tap water to the greater area, or cause further mass infrastructure collapses due to the added pressure of her city growth plans.

Remember, we still don’t know how this feeder main broke, why we weren’t able to prevent it, or who will be held accountable. Mayor Gondek did however put the city’s top bureaucrat in charge of performing a “incident review”. David Duckworth became Calgary’s Utilities and Environmental Protection General Manager in 2018 and was appointed the Chief Administrative Officer role by former Mayor Naheed Nenshi in 2019.

Duckworth previously detailed his ambitions to focus on the organization's culture, vision, and his relationship with city council. Defending City Hall has been a trend of his, so whether this incident review provides some real answer and accountability for suffering Calgarians is in question, to say the least.

In short, they asked the city to investigate itself, and we’re supposed to believe whatever they say. Calgarians have done their part to conserve water for over three weeks now, yet the Mayor hasn’t done her part to provide accountability or proper oversight. Locals have been left to fend for themselves and the Mayor still can’t provide on the answers demanded by all.

This infrastructure disaster also translates to taxpayer funds in a big way. After two weeks the Mayor finally decided to propose budget amendments to make up for her lack of preparedness, but the incident review has yet to provide clarity on the extent of our critical infrastructure issues.

Without the funds where they should have been, Mayor Gondek has taken to not only begging for federal and provincial resources, but also looking into how the city can increase utility bills of Calgarians to finance her neglect. These new costs come atop preexisting property tax hikes and city considerations into increasing bills to reduce water consumption.

Unfortunately, even though Calgarians' security and safety have been recklessly destabilized, we don’t get to hear that full conversation on her city’s management of the situation.

This is another trick Mayor Gondek was trained to do from her predecessor Mayor Nenshi, who developed an increased trend of having, what should be public city council sessions, held in confidentiality behind closed doors.

Calgarians are being financially drained by this administration and have received zero accountability from City Hall, and whether we’ll be leaving this state of emergency any time soon is yet to be determined.

Led by Mayor Gondek, the city has been so distracted with vanity projects and climate activism that it was unable not only to maintain the city’s infrastructure or prevent this ongoing catastrophe, it was also unable to identify what actually matters for the health and well-being of Calgarians.

Mayor Gondek has also gone from being Calgary least popular mayor to being even worse, dropping in popularity amidst our city’s crisis, with locals at 64% disapproval.

Locals have also started their first ever municipal party called A Better Calgary, focused on common sense and fiscal responsibility. Earlier this year, Gondek also face heavy scrutiny in the form of a petition called Recall Gondek, which acquired tens of thousands of signatures from locals who sought her resignation.

The fact is, we need a mayor who can bathe themselves without it being a risk to society, one who doesn’t make things so bad that she has to beg an entire city to stop flushing their toilets.

To top it all off, tens of thousands of people are beginning to arrive for the Stampede on July 5th, adding further expected stresses to the system. This show is the world’s greatest outdoor expedition and a massive financial asset to the area, which has been put at risk by this city administration.

And it’s not just hundreds of millions of dollars of annual investment that’s been put at risk, but also the unique culture Albertans have brought the world. This province is known for its pride in cowboy culture, agriculture, top grade beef, industry & oil ingenuity, environmental integrity, and ability to look out for each other and persevere. But with the mayor’s handling of city resources, we lose both the ability to showcase our way of life to the world, but also the ability to maintain it.

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