Five temporary water bottle filling stations have been installed around Edmonton as part of a new pilot project aiming to keep vulnerable people safe during hot weather.
With ongoing high temperatures and heat warnings in Edmonton, the city's extreme weather response, activated on June 25, remains in place. The decision was made in consultation with more than 25 agencies who are part of the Sector Emergency Response collaboration.
Dehydration was the primary concern raised during the development of Policy C620 Supporting Vulnerable People During Extreme Weather Conditions, which requires the city to respond in extreme heat conditions.
The water stations use fire hydrants as a water source. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services was involved in planning the pilot project, and confirmed that the selected hydrants were safe and that modifying them would not affect fire fighting operations.
The five locations for the pilot are:
- Giovanni Caboto Park, 109 Avenue at 94 Street NW, east side
- Michael Phair Park, 104 Street, north of Jasper Avenue
- Parkdale Square, 118 Avenue, east of 82 Street
- Butler Memorial Park, 100A Avenue, east of 158 Street
- Strathcona Farmers' Market, 83 Avenue, east of 104 Street
"The city wanted to place the taps where vulnerable residents have the most difficulty getting water during extreme heat," spokesperson Carol Hurst told Taproot.
Hurst added the city used input from social agencies and open data to pinpoint potential fire hydrant locations.
The city made the water stations itself, so the pilot cost $14,000. The funding came from the $7.85 million that city council approved on April 9 for its pandemic homelessness response. EPCOR isn't charging for the water.
"EPCOR crews will be checking the water-fill stations each day to ensure they are properly maintained," Hurst said.
The pilot project will run until Oct. 31 and could be expanded in the future.
"If it goes well, we would look at whether additional locations would benefit from access to water as part of our extreme weather response," Hurst said.