Cochrane’s water reservoir critically low post-line break, state of local emergency declared

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Cochrane declares state of emergency as water supply critically low
WATCH: The Town of Cochrane has declared a state of emergency following water and sewer line breaks. Crews have isolated the sewer line but not the water main and, as Sarah Offin reports, water supplies are now reaching critical lows. – Oct 24, 2023

The Town of Cochrane, Alta., has declared a state of local emergency, including significant restrictions on residential and commercial water use, as recent breaks to water and sewage lines have drastically reduced the level in the town’s water reservoir.

“As a result of the water and wastewater incident on Saturday, Oct. 21 and the uncontrolled impacts to the Town of Cochrane’s water reservoir supply, our water reservoirs are at critical levels,” Shawn Polley, the town’s ECC director, said in a statement Tuesday morning.

“If water consumption continues at the current levels, we anticipate that some communities may soon be without water.”

Under the state of local emergency, residents may not:

  • Shower or bathe;
  • Wash dishes; or
  • Run washing machines.

“Water quality is not our problem,” confirmed a town spokesperson. “Water quantity is our problem.”

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As of late Tuesday morning, the situation was considered so dire that the town feared there wouldn’t be enough water available for emergency fire suppression.

Town officials confirm plans are underway to begin hauling water from Calgary as of Wednesday. The process was initially delayed to ensure that Calgary’s treated water would be compatible with the town’s water treatment.

The water break had yet to be isolated as of Tuesday afternoon and initial requests to limit water use appear to have been ignored. According to the town, Monday was Cochrane’s highest water usage day this month.

Town of Cochrane on X: “The Town of Cochrane has declared a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) to create a legal state of affairs of a temporary nature so that the local authority may take extraordinary actions to deal with the emergency.” / X (

An emergency alert was issued Saturday after one of the town’s wastewater pipelines ruptured when it was struck by a drill during line upgrading efforts on Griffin Road.

The City of Calgary took to social media Tuesday afternoon to confirm that sewage from Cochrane was no longer appearing at the water treatment plant in Calgary.

City of Calgary on X: “The Town of Cochrane has confirmed sewage is no longer discharging into the Bow River. The last of the impacted water passed through our water treatment plant on Monday, and it is now safe to recreate near the Bow River. 1/2” / X (


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