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Drinking water

We take pride in the quality of our drinking water. Below you will find answers to common questions we receive about Calgary's drinking water.

To learn more about where our drinking water comes from, or how we treat and test for water quality, visit Water Supply and Water Quality.

My water has a milky or cloudy appearance

Air bubbles in the water may cause a milky or cloudy appearance, especially in cold water. These bubbles pose no health risk. Cloudiness appears more often in the winter when the water is cold. If the water is allowed to sit, the air will dissipate and the water will clear.

My water has a yellow or rusty colour

Watermain repairs, construction and other work in your area can cause some rust and sediment, which normally stick to the inside of the water main, to break away. Fire hydrant flushing can also cause this inconvenience.

The discoloured water is safe to drink, but may cause water to appear dirty. If this happens, allow a cold water tap to run for five to ten minutes to flush your pipes.

My water smells musty or has an unusual odour

If the musty odours occurs only at one faucet, the odour is related to something at or near the faucet. Try cleaning the drain, this often removes the odours. Please note unusual tastes or odours are aesthetic in nature and do no pose a health risk.

My water tastes stale

Drinking water may taste stale if faucets have not been used in awhile. Run the cold water tap briefly to allow fresh water from the water main to your tap. If you have any concerns about the quality of your water, please contact 311.

My water have a chlorine taste and smell

We add chlorine to disinfect your water and keep it free from harmful microorganisms. Some conditions, such as spring runoff, affect the quality of the water supply entering Calgary from the Bow and Elbow Rivers.

During these times, we adjust water treatment, which may include increasing the level of disinfectant, to ensure that your drinking water remains safe. Therefore, you may occasionally notice an increase in the taste and smell of chlorine in your drinking water.

If you would like to remove the taste and smell of chlorine, fill a container of water and keep it in the fridge for drinking. Much of the chlorine will dissipate from the water overnight. You will also conserve water as you don't have to run the tap until the water feels cold every time you fill a glass.

Is Calgary's water hard?

Water from the Bow and Elbow rivers is considered hard because of the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water can cause build up on your water heaters and household plumbing. To learn more, read Water Hardness.

Is fluoride added to Calgary's water?

We discontinued the practice of fluoridating Calgary's drinking water on Thursday, May 19, 2011. This is following direction from Council and Alberta Environment's authorization to amend The City's Operating Approval.

Fluoride naturally occurs in the Bow and Elbow Rivers, in concentrations varying throughout the year, between 0.1 and 0.4 mg/L.