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Calgary announces Water Security Roadmap amidst Alberta drought conditions

The City of Calgary announced it will be developing a roadmap that will help the city make long-term decisions about water security and water reuse through 2100.

In a news release on Wednesday afternoon, the City announced it will partner with WaterSMART Solutions to develop the Integrated Water Security Roadmap and Water Reuse Assessment Project. The project is funded in part by Alberta Innovates’ Water Innovation grant of $400,000.

“Climate change introduces uncertainty in our water quality and quantity. And as our population continues to grow, we need to be able to balance our future water supply with efficient demand. The Water Security Roadmap will be valuable in guiding our long-term water management and investment decisions,” said Pam Duncan, the city’s environmental strategy team lead.

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This comes as the province is experiencing a Stage 4 drought. Currently, there are 51 water shortage advisories for select water management areas across the province. Ten of those advisories are located in the Bow River Basin.

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Duncan says determining the city’s future water needs is complex because there are many variables. The roadmap will be developed by looking at a wide range of “what if” scenarios, Wednesday’s release said.

The City said the Water Reuse Assessment will be a key deliverable incorporated into the roadmap, which will examine various approaches to support the long-term reliability and diversification of Calgary’s water supply. This includes using stormwater for irrigation or using wastewater for industrial processes.

The development of the roadmap is expected to wrap up in 2026 and will be shared with other Alberta municipalities to be used to guide their work towards improved water management, the City said.

“We are working with WaterSMART Solutions to assess climate change variables, conduct modelling to understand water supply scenarios, analyze risks and understand community values. What we learn will inform the direction of our roadmap,” Duncan said.

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