Thursday, April 22, 2010

Taking Action to Protect our Rivers

April showers not only bring May flowers, they wash sediment and debris from roofs, lawns, roadways and construction sites into Calgary’s rivers. These rivers are not just an important habitat for fish and other aquatic life; they are the source of Calgary’s drinking water.

In addition to urging citizens to protect Calgary’s rivers by properly disposing of hazardous products, picking up pet waste and limiting the use of pesticides and fertilizers that can be carried away by rainwater and lawn watering, The City of Calgary is leading by example with its Stormwater Management Strategy.

“The purpose of the Stormwater Management Strategy is to protect Calgary's water resources and reduce the impacts of urban drainage on local watersheds," explains RenĂ© Letourneau, team lead of Urban Water Management. “In older communities, stormwater often goes straight into the rivers and creeks untreated."

To address this issue, the construction of several stormwater quality retrofit projects has been approved - five in the Fish Creek Park area and two along Nose Creek. To date, four projects have been completed throughout the city, with three more slated for completion by the end of this year.

“The recently constructed stormwater quality retrofit projects are examples of the commitment to protect our watersheds by reducing the sediment loading to the Bow River and its tributaries,” says Letourneau.

Retrofit projects are just one of the ways The City is doing its part to protect our rivers from stormwater sediment and debris. Here are some others:
  • The City’s Water Centre building has a system in place to reuse stormwater. The site also minimizes stormwater run-off through bioretention (using grass and vegetation to limit runoff), a green roof, and porous pavement in the parking lot.
  • The City’s Spring Clean-up Program lowers the potential for water pollution by preventing the run-off from sanding materials and debris from entering our stormwater system.
For more information on the Stormwater Management Strategy and what you can do at home to help protect our rivers, visit Water Services on

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