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Bow is Below: Protecting Calgary's water


Every time it rains or snow melts, the streets, driveways, parking lots and your lawn get a bath. Dirt, oil, gasoline, garbage, animal droppings and chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides are washed away into the storm drains. Ultimately, stormwater, and the pollutants within it, enters our rivers through outfalls – the drains you see along the river.

Our rivers provide an important habitat for fish and other aquatic life. Our rivers are also our source for clean drinking water. Our everyday activities can have a big impact on natural habitats. Pollution from stormwater can hurt or kill fish, birds, frogs, insects and the plants they need for food and shelter.

You can help protect our rivers

Be YardSmart

Consider adding attractive, hardy, low-maintenance plants that are wonderful rainwater sponges and filters. Visit our yardsmart section for recommended plants, trees and shrubs that help protect our rivers and require little watering.

Dust your driveway

Use a broom and dustpan to clean your sidewalks and driveway instead of hosing debris down the storm drains.

Pick up after pets

Always pick up pet waste so that it doesn't go into our waterways.

Dispose of hazardous products properly

Bring hazardous products like motor oil, lawn chemicals, etc., to a designated drop-off location near you. Call 311 or visit our Household Chemical Drop-off Program area for drop-off locations near you.

Care for cars at the car wash

Wash your vehicle at a car wash, instead of your driveway, to keep soapy water and dirt out of the storm drains. Learn more by visiting bylaws related to car washing.

Drain downspouts on lawns

Point your downspouts onto well drained lawn or garden areas, not directly onto streets or alleys. Learn more by visiting our Drainage Bylaw and Lot Grading Bylaw pages.

Limit fertilizers and pesticides

Reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn that can be carried away by rainwater and lawn watering.

Use a rain barrel for garden watering

Use a rain barrel to collect water from your downspouts. You can use this water for your lawn or plants.

The City's Stormwater Management Strategy

To ensure that we are doing our part to protect our rivers and wildlife, The City has developed a Stormwater Management Strategy.

Learn more about the strategy and the various projects and activities we support to acheive it by visiting our History of Calgary's Stormwater Management page.​