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Feasibility of proposed Eyremore dam and reservoir to be studied in southern Alberta

Click to play video: 'Alberta government unveils feasibility report for potential Eyremore Dam and Reservoir project, environmental groups shoot back'
Alberta government unveils feasibility report for potential Eyremore Dam and Reservoir project, environmental groups shoot back
Is a new dam on the Bow River the answer to southern Alberta's water woes? The province has announced funding for a feasibility study of a proposed new reservoir southwest of Brooks. As Micah Quintin reports, those who depend on irrigation say it could help address ongoing drought issues, but environmental groups have some big concerns – Mar 26, 2024

A $5-million study will look into whether it’s feasible to build a new Eyremore Dam and Reservoir on the Bow River, but already it’s drawn the ire of environmental groups.

“It’s going to impact the nearby lands, the flooding that will happen once the dam is operational,” said Ruiping Luo, a conservation specialist with the Alberta Wilderness Association.

The organization has some big concerns about the dam and reservoir.

According to the province, the project would be located about 43 kilometres downstream of the Bassano Dam, southwest of Brooks and Lake Newell.

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“The location they’ve chosen is in an environmentally significant area and it’s on native prairie. And native Prairie especially is something that we’ve already lost a lot of in Alberta. And with that native Prairie we’re losing a lot of the species at risk, a lot of the wildlife that relies on that habitat,” added Luo.

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Members of the Bow River Irrigation District say the reservoir is needed to help improve water management.

“Right now, the Oldman Reservoir is called on to really be the source of water for the South Saskatchewan River for obligations there,” said Richard Phillips, the general manager of the district.

“Having another reservoir in that system on the Bow River, which we currently don’t have, will really improve water management through the whole system.”

Agriculture and Irrigation Minister RJ Sigurdson said environmental concerns will be addressed in the study.

“We are working hand in hand with our Minister of Environment to ensure that all environmental impacts are studied and understood prior to moving forward with a project of this size,” Sigurdson said.

The feasibility report is due back in spring of 2025.

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