Issue: 2/04

The city of Toronto was only days away from running out of water during Aug. 2003's blackout, but conservation efforts eased the threat, The Toronto Star reported.

Mike Price, the city's general manager of water and wastewater, said Jan. 5 that during the power outage Toronto's residents were never in any immediate danger of facing empty water pipes.

Federal documents stated that on Aug. 15, one day after the blackout began, "the city of Toronto is currently meeting its demand for water, but just barely." Price disputed that statement, saying Toronto had enough water supplies in its reservoirs to cope for several days, the article stated.

However, Price added, "Eventually, if the blackout had gone on for a few more days, yes, the taps would have run dry."

Once the blackout hit, consumption dropped significantly as a result of conservation efforts and a provincial decision to order all non-essential workers to stay home. With industry effectively shut down, the sector that consumes a third of the city's water under normal conditions wasn't using any of the limited supply, according to the article.

This article was summarized in the Water Technology News online newsletter.