Management strategy aims to lower risk of pollution in Bearspaw Reservoir

Bearspaw Dam is pictured on this photo from June 16th, 2014.
Bearspaw Dam is pictured on this photo from June 16th, 2014. Global News

It is the primary source of drinking water for 1.4 million people in Calgary and the surrounding area: the Bearspaw Reservoir. A management strategy is being developed to balance human activity and protecting water quality.

A report that went to the city of Calgary’s Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) committee on Thursday stated that with urban growth, increased recreational use and other hazards, the water in the reservoir is at risk of pollution.

“Part of what’s driving this is [that] Haskayne Legacy Park is now becoming an actual city park that citizens will go and enjoy rather than the very informal use the area sees right now,” said councillor Gian Carlo Carra, vice chair of the city’s IGA committee.

Governance of the reservoir is controlled by the city, Rocky View County and Trans Alta Utilities, which owns and operates the dam.

READ MORE: Calgary’s Bearspaw Country Club to reopen for rest of golf season

The three set up a task force last year to look at ways of balancing human activities while protecting water quality, public safety and access.

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The next step is to create a management strategy looking at limiting higher risk recreational uses, improving storm water pollution management and a campaign of public education and awareness.

Carra said the risk of pollution requires the management strategy.

“As use of the reservoir by recreational groups increases, as we start to talk about making our water situation more solid going into an uncertain future, it’s high time we did this work.”

The city of Calgary and Rocky View are going to hold a series of public consultation later this year with some of the input guiding a management strategy that will come back to Calgary’s IGA committee in June 2020.