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Living Here

FAQ
Why should I try to reduce my water usage?
Water is our most precious resource. Doing everything in our power to prevent water waste helps to conserve this vital resource while saving money.
 
Two main sources of water waste are leaks and the over-watering of lawns and gardens. For many properties, the first suspicion of a leak occurs when high water consumption is noticed on the water bill. Always check your water bill for abnormal consumption.
 
Why is my water usage estimated ?
Very few accounts will show an estimated read. If your bill shows an estimate, please call the Utilities Department at 403.335.3391 ext. 1106.
 
How does the computer estimate my usage?
Should your bill show an estimated read, the bill is calculated on your average use in the last 24 months.
 
Should I read my meter?
You no longer have to read your own meter as the entire town meters are now read every month.
 
How do I read the dial on my Water Meter?
It’s easy - from left to right, simply read the four numbers to the LEFT of the decimal place. Remember - you do not have to read your own meter, but recommend you occasionallly check the read on your meter with the read on your utility bill.
 
Should I check for leaks?
Yes. Left long enough, even a slow undetected drip or silent leak can cost you hundreds of dollars a year. Make it a habit to check your home for leaks on a regular basis.
 
High volume water leaks often come from toilets. They are hard to detect and are usually caused by worn or misaligned parts.
 
A toilet that continues to run after flushing could be wasting 20-40 litres per hour - that's 175,000 to 350,000 litres (175 to 350 cubic metres) per year, enough water to fill a swimming pool. Leaks can cost you up to several hundred dollars per year!
 
How do I check for leaks?
All water meters, regardless of type, have gauges on them that show if your meter is registering water usage. In the case above, it’s the placeholder to the right of the decimal. Here are two simple checks you can do:
 
Checking for a Toilet Leak
Step 1 - Carefully remove the toilet tank lid. Place a dye tablet or some food colouring in the tank.
 
Step 2 - After 15 minutes, check the water in your toilet bowl. If the water is coloured, you've got a leak. Toilet repairs may require the assistance of a plumber.
 
To check for leaks elsewhere such as pipes
Step 1 - Turn off all water faucets,dishwashers,washing machines, and anything else that may use water.
 
Step 2 - After all faucets are turned off, newer meters have Leak Detectors that measure water usage in tiny increments. If your Leak Detector arrow is moving, you may have an undetected leak in your house.
 
A leaking service line or pipe in your home can add up to a significant amount of water waste. A small hole in a pipe has known to waste a substantial amount of water in a two-month period.
 
Continual leaking from this size hole could cost you from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the diameter of the pipe. A dripping faucet or fixture can waste over 11 liters a day ... a total of 4015 liters a year.
 
What are the biggest water-wasters?
The average Canadian uses 326 litres of water per day; this amount increases to 440 litres per day during the summer months.
 
Undetected leaks of all kinds can easily double your water bill or much worse in 30 days. In an average household, 30% of water is used for toilet flushing, 35% is used for showers/baths, 20% for laundry, 10% for cooking and drinking, 5% for cleaning.
 
Toilets are notorious for hidden or silent leaks, because leaks are seldom noticed unless the toilet "runs” after each flush. Check your toilets for leaks regularly. Replace old, inefficient or leaky toilets with HET (High Efficiency Toilets), Low-flush or Dual-flush toilets.
 
Outdoor Hoses. A thirsty garden uses a lot of water. The average garden hose has an output of 35 litres per minute. At this rate, running a hose or sprinkler for half-an-hour uses 1050 litres of water. Plus, if you accidentally leave your hose dribbling or dripping, you can waste an astounding amount of water.
 
Long Showers and high-flow faucets / showerheads. A 10-minute shower uses an average of 100 litres of water. Low-flow showerheads and faucets may reduce your usage in these areas by half.
 
How can I reduce my water usage?
It’s easy to find small ways around the house to reduce unnecessary water usage.
  •  Turn off the tap or reduce its flow when you are not actively using water to brush your teeth, wash your face or hands, or to rinse off soapy dishes. For a family, this small act will reduce your water usage by about 31 litres per day. 
  • Installing HET, low-flush or dual-flush toilets will reduce water use by up t o 63 litres per person per day.
  • Run your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are fully loaded, reducing usage by about 132 litres of water a week. 
  • Installing low-flow shower heads and having shorter showers will reduce this usage by up to 50 litres per 10-minute shower.
  • Get yourself a rain barrel or two to capture rainwater for use in the garden any type of barrel will work fine.
 
How can I use less water outside?
Most lawns receive far more water than they need for a healthy appearance. The key to watering lawns is to apply the water infrequently, yet thoroughly, creating a deep, well-rooted lawn that efficiently uses water stored in the soil.
 
A good rule of thumb is to apply 1-inch (2.5 cm) of water once a week, before 9:00 am, to avoid excessive evaporation. Set your sprinkler up so that you avoid watering patios, driveways and sidewalks.
 
Sweep your driveway and walkways instead of washing them with a hose. Check hoses and fittings regularly for leaks. Use rain barrels to capture rainwater for use in your garden.
 
If you have a small garden, using rainwater and a watering can to water plants individually avoids waste.
 
How do I create a water-efficient yard?
Most people tend to mow too often and to cut the grass too short. For typical grass species, mowing grass to a height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches (6-8 cm) and never cutting more than one-third of the grass length will encourage longer roots and shade the soil, reducing its temperature and moisture loss from evaporation.
 
Leave grass clippings on the lawn as they are an excellent source of vital nitrogen. Set your mower height to cut grass no lower than 2 1/2 to 3 inches (6-8 cm) for most types of grasses.
 
Avoid cutting the grass when it is wet. Alter the direction you mow each time you cut the grass. Keep the blades of your mower sharp - dull blades tear the grass leaving it open to disease and heat stress.
 
Traditional landscape design creates a constant battle against drought conditions, weed infestation, insect damage, drainage problems, trodden down lawns, and damage due to salt and oily runoff from sidewalks.
 
By taking advantage of plants which thrive under the various conditions which exist around your property, you can create a landscape that is dynamic, beautiful and easy to maintain.
 
Plant drought-resistant plants and grasses which require little or no watering during hot, dry periods. Many commonly available plants (especially established perennials) require no more water than that supplied by Mother Nature. Plant trees and shrubs - a shaded landscape is cooler and therefore, retains more water.
 
Trees and shrubs also provide natural wind breaks, reducing plant water loss from the drying effects of Alberta winds. (Some info is from CMHC’s "Household Guide to Water Efficiency”).
 
Where does our water come from?
The Town of Didsbury's water source is through the Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission. The regional water treatment plant services over 25,000 people in the communities of Innisfail, Bowden, Olds, Didsbury, Carstairs and Crossfield. They do not add fluoride as there is naturally occurring fluoride at the source.
 
The Town of Didsbury has a member of Council as it's representative on the Commission.
Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission
Anthony Henday Water Treatment Plant
Site 22, RR 1, Box 1
Innisfail, Alberta
 
How do I know my water is safe to drink?
Alberta’s program to protect our drinking water is the best in Canada! Alberta is the only province that requires ALL surface water to be filtered and disinfected before people drink it.
 
The main reason for treating or disinfecting public water supplies is to kill pathogens, which are disease-causing organisms transmitted by water. Alberta Environment regulates public waterworks systems in Alberta and works closely with Alberta Health & Wellness and regional health authorities to ensure Albertans continue to enjoy high-quality drinking water.
 
All waterworks systems, regardless of size, must meet the same treatment design and performance standards, and the same guidelines for drinking-water quality.
 
This means that it doesn’t matter if you are in a big city like Calgary, or a small town your water is treated to the same high-quality standards.
 
This is unlike the US Environmental Protection Agency, whose requirements are based on the size of the population served by a waterworks system.