Officials say the water situation in Regina and Moose Jaw improved over the weekend as the weather became cooler and windier, and residents cut usage by 20 per cent.

There’s more water moving through the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant and the city says it is now able to rely less on its eight reserve wells.

High levels of algae and oxygen have slowed the filtration process at the plant, which is only producing about half as much clean water as usual.

“We have many outstanding people working very, very hard to find a solution to the problem,” Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said Monday.

“This algae circumstance is unique and different. We have not seen this before.”

This isn't the first time Regina and Moose Jaw have faced water problems. Thirty years ago, taste was the issue and a campaign was launched to build a water pipeline from Lake Diefenbaker as a permanent solution. But the project was deemed too expensive back then.

The city estimates it could take up to a month for the water quality in Buffalo Pound Lake to improve as the lake is flushed with higher-quality water from Lake Diefenbaker through the dam system.

While residents in Regina and Moose Jaw continue to ration their water use, officials in the Friendly City have some explaining to do.

A photo of a contractor pressure washing Moose Jaw’s city hall building on Sunday has set off a firestorm on social media

“We regret that that didn’t get caught in our review of water conservation measures,” said the City of Moose Jaw’s Jody Hauta.

“Once we became aware of it, we did stop down the operation, but that was already after the project was well underway.”

Based on a report by CTV Regina’s Wayne Mantyka