Water outages and main breaks
We know you rely on us to provide reliable access to clean and safe water. When outages happen, we work to notify you and restore service as quickly as possible.
Under normal circumstances, water main breaks are repaired, and water is back on within 48 hours. We prioritize breaks based on factors such as the risk of property damage, impact to critical facilities (like hospitals or schools) and the number of customers out of water.
Call 311 when:
- Your water is not working, and you have not been notified of an outage.
- You see water coming up through or pooling in the grass, road or sidewalk.
Current main breaks and water outages
Note: Our priority is to repair a break and restore water service. Outages are added to this list and information updated as crews are able. Please call 311 to report or if you have concerns about a water outage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Not all water outages are planned. Water main breaks are unpredictable and can happen for a variety of reasons:
- The age, material, and condition of the pipes
- Condition of the soil
- Temperature of the ground and water
- Pressure changes
The most common solution is a water wagon - a portable tank of drinking water that provides emergency supply to you and your neighbours. It is placed in a central location to provide customer access to water during longer outages.
We will provide a recreation pass, which will enable affected customers to access showers and amenities at a City-run recreation centre or leisure centre if we are unable to restore their water service within 24 hours.
For shorter outages, and to support you while water wagons or temporary supplies are set up, we recommend keeping a small emergency supply of water on hand. You can continue to use the toilet during interruptions by pouring stored water into your toilet bowl to empty its contents.
Learn more about preparing your 72-hour emergency preparedness kit.
We test for quality before water is restored. If your water is discoloured, it is still safe to drink. To ensure the issue is resolved:
- Run your bathtub tap on cold for 30 minutes until water clears. Then run other cold water taps for five minutes or until clear.
- Wash tap aerators or screens in hot, soapy water, and disinfect them for 10 minutes in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water.
- Disinfect water filters to manufacturer's recommendations.
If water does not clear after running the taps, please contact 311.
Once the water main repair is complete and Water Services has completed filling in the excavation, crews will work to pave the area with asphalt.
- Depending on the circumstances, a temporary repair to the road or sidewalk may need to be replaced in the spring and once the frost has thawed.
- Please obey all traffic barriers and slow down when our crews are working.
No, water main breaks happen. We maintain nearly 15,000 kilometres of underground water infrastructure as part of our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems and have one of the lowest number of average breaks per 100 kilometres when compared to other major Canadian cities.
The longer the temperature stays below freezing, the deeper the frost goes, putting pressure on water main and service pipes. Winter frost depths in Calgary typically range from two to three metres. Frozen ground increases the amount of time required to access the water pipes, resulting in a longer time frame to restore water. Pipes are buried around three to four metres deep.
- A crew is dispatched to determine the location, impact and severity of the break
- Crews reduce and shutoff water flow by closing nearby water valves
- Crews identify alternative sources for temporary customer water
- Crews excavate and repair the watermain
- Service is restored after the pipe is flushed and water quality is tested
- The road, lane, sidewalk or lawn is repaired. This may take time depending on the season, weather, difficulty of the location and size of the break. If there are damages from the water main repair, we will arrange for rehabilitation or repair. Learn more at Water Service Construction Property Rehab.
If after investigating a water outage we determine that the break is on private property it is the property owner’s responsibility to make repairs.
The City is responsible for the water service line that extends from the water main up to the homeowner's property line. All pipes, solder and fittings on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. The figure below demonstrates the delineation between the public and private side.
In these cases, tenants should contact their landlord for updates on repairs including timelines and alternative water sources. If you are having an issue with your landlord, please contact the Consumer Contact Centre.
I can see equipment and city vehicles outside my residence, but there doesn’t appear to be repair work underway. What’s going on?
We can assure you that work is underway.
- Crews may be working with a leak locator to determine the location of underground break(s).
- Depending on the size of the break there may be multiple repair locations involved. Crews are likely working on another street nearby or in a back alley.
- The equipment and vehicles you see are on stand-by and waiting to be called into action. This ensures our crews aren’t waiting for repair materials, dump trucks or backhoes to arrive, which can reduce repair times.