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Manhole Cover Design Project

More than 12,000 km of underground pipes travel beneath our city streets servicing water, stormwater and wastewater. Hidden from view, this massive network is accessible through more than 200,000 manhole covers across Calgary.

Through regular lifecycle maintenance, The City replaces approximately 2,000 manhole covers each year. These new designs will be incorporated into the replacement cover program and will be fabricated from 2018 onward.

Project budget: $40,000
Project launch: Summer 2018

Andrea Williamson's design for Storm Water was inspired by Calgary's settlement at the meeting of two rivers and the role we play in caring for it. We depend on the river as it depends on us. The design shows the Bow River weaving through a poplar tree branch, surrounded by ripples of water. The river needs the poplars and the poplars need the river. Williamson explains “the water flowing down the storm system drains is the same water that is in the trees, in the rivers, and in us, it is all tied together like a knot."


Jeff Kulak's design for Wastewater was inspired by the complex wastewater treatment process. The design shows the four components of waste being separated through the treatment process: sedimentary material, fats and oils, biological contaminants, and harmful chemicals. Finally, clean drinking water flows outward as the outcome of the treatment process.


Mary Haasdyk's design for Water represents the source of our drinking water. It shows precipitation and glacial mountains flowing into a vessel. That vessel, symbolic of a reservoir or drinking glass, is encased in urban dwellings representing Calgary's close relationship and proximity to the source of our water.​​