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Ward 7 News: Calgary's Drainage System

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Drain basin

Throughout the year, The City of Calgary Water Services responds to hundreds of calls related to water pooling on streets from blocked storm drains or heavy rainfall.  Storm drains, known in the industry as catch basins, drain water and snow melt off sidewalks, streets and roads, into our storm system and eventually into our rivers.

There are approximately 50,000 storm drains in Calgary so Water Services is required to prioritize when responding to citizen calls. Water entering houses, garages or businesses and causing property damage is our number one priority. Water pooling in front of hospitals, schools, playgrounds and bus zones is also a high service priority.

During a storm or a heavy snow melt, storm drains pool water on the street, letting it slowly drain into the pipes below. In newer communities, Inlet Control Devices (ICD’s) have been installed inside selected storm drains to keep water on the road until the system can accept the surplus water. These ICD devices prevent the storm system from being overwhelmed, causing water backups. If you see sustained pooling on the street, be patient, it may not be flooding, but controlled water drainage.

No matter the season, The City does not advise citizens to try and clear the storm drains themselves as potential hazards may be hiding under the water's surface.  However, if the storm drain is not covered with water and it is safe to do so, citizens can clear the grate of debris, leaves, snow or ice to create better drainage.

For more information or to report a storm drain issue, use the City’s 311 mobile app, visit or call 311.


This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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