Alert | State of Local Emergency in Effect

City declares State of Local Emergency. Water restrictions and Fire ban in place. Our water is safe to drink.

Water Saving Tips, FAQs, more information

Doing our part

With the conditions we’re seeing, we all need to do our part, big or small, to conserve water during this drought.

Here are some examples of how we're using water wisely and when we're using water for health, safety or regulatory needs.

City parks

Calgary has many parks and greenspaces to explore and enjoy. Our parks offer features and activities such as pathways, playgrounds, picnic sites, wading pools, splash parks and much more.

Actions we are taking:

  • We’re adjusting mowing height to let turf grow longer, which allows root systems to be shaded and cooled so less watering is needed.
  • We will continue to efficiently water new plantings such as trees and shrubs to help get them established.
  • Where stormwater reuse is available, we’ll be using it to water young trees and plantings. New communities use stormwater to irrigate parks and playfields, which reduces our overall use of water.
  • We have made the difficult decision not to fill the Olympic Plaza reflecting pool, which is typically filled and drained multiple times throughout summer. This action will save approximately 75,000 gallons of water. 
  • With use of weather stations, during periods of wet weather the irrigation schedule is adjusted to help save water.


Trees in Calgary enhance both the environmental health and the aesthetic appeal of our city. A healthy canopy improves air quality, reduces stormwater runoff, and soil erosion prevention, while supporting Calgary’s biodiversity. 

The water usage for each tree is very low when considering the long-term climate-positive benefits.

Actions we are taking:

  • We will continue watering trees that have been planted within the past five years to promote establishment.
  • Where stormwater reuse is available, we’ll be using it to water young trees.
  • We monitor soil moisture to help ensure we only water as needed with a focus on water conservation.
  • During implementation of a five-year tree watering program, each new tree, on average, receives the equivalent of 2.6L of water per day. As a comparison, a high-efficiency toilet uses at least 3L of water per flush.

On average, smaller trees, require around half the amount of water of a larger tree, roughly the same amount as a medium milk carton.

Flower planting

We’re taking steps to reduce water usage where we can while still making our downtown a vibrant destination for Calgarians and visitors alike.

Actions we are taking:

  • For this year’s street patio program, we’re reducing the number of planters by one third as well as using more drought tolerant plants.
  • This year, we plan on reducing the number of summer hanging baskets by 50 per cent to help save water through the spring and summer seasons.
  • Across our flower beds in locations like Prince’s Island Park and other regional parks in Calgary, we’ll be planting 20 per cent fewer flowers.

Parks irrigation maintenance

Citizens may see irrigation systems being tested in new parks under construction, which is necessary to ensure all parts of the system are working properly to help establish new and vulnerable plantings.

Water use for health, safety or regulatory needs

  • Each spring, when we turn the irrigation system in parks back on, it is regulated that the system must be inspected and tested in each park to ensure it does not have any leaks that would waste water and could potentially leak back into Calgary’s water supply.
  • We have been given an exemption from the Water Utility Bylaw to continue using potable water for controlling weeds listed as “noxious” or “prohibited noxious” under the Alberta Weed Control Act.


The City of Calgary operates six cemeteries where families can honour and remember loved ones.

Actions we are taking:

  • Where the watering is automatically controlled, watering occurs during the early morning hours and amounts are adjusted based on weather station information.

Water use for health, safety or regulatory needs

  • We will prioritize meeting the legislative requirements of the Alberta Cemeteries Act where new burials will be watered for establishment. 

Indoor pools and leisure centres

We have a 13 indoor aquatic facilities throughout Calgary where you can swim, play and stay active. Some of these facilities also have wading pools, splash parks, hot tubs and steam rooms.

Actions we are taking:

  • Performing regular inspections to report and fix leaky faucets, showerheads, toilets, water fountains and pool basins.
  • Ensuring pools and hot tubs are only drained or filled on an as-needed basis. 
  • Capturing, cleaning and reusing water from the splash parks at Southland and Village Square Leisure Centres. 
  • Encouraging aquatic staff to look for opportunities to reduce water like using fewer towels, encouraging customers to take shorter showers, etc. 

Outdoor activities


There are approximately 1,800 playfields available to rent across the city. 

Actions we are taking:

  • We have reduced the overall timeframe of watering, so that fields are only being watered when they are being used. This allows us to still maintain healthy, safe recreational spaces for Calgarians and protect our investments in plantings and the tree canopy.

Wading pools, spray parks and outdoor pools

Spray parks, wading pools and outdoor pools are typically open from mid-June until fall (weather dependent). Water from wading pools and spray parks is captured, cleaned and reused onsite.

Water use for health, safety or regulatory needs:

Wading pools, spray parks and outdoor pools will remain open to help people stay cool during periods of hot summer weather.

Athletic parks

There are 13 athletic parks in Calgary where you can participate sports like soccer, softball, field hockey, rugby, baseball, slo pitch, track and field or football. These facilities can also be booked for competitions and tournaments.

Actions we're taking:

  • Voluntarily reducing watering by 10 per cent in our irrigation systems.
  • Refraining from operating irrigation systems for periphery areas.
  • Adjusting mower heights in periphery areas to promote deeper roots and require cutting less often.
  • Shifting maintenance requiring water to earlier in the season when water-use restrictions are less likely. 


The City of Calgary operates seven golf courses on five locations across Calgary. All courses are irrigated using non-potable water sources.

While golfers will likely see some brown grass and courses won't be as green as usual, it will not decrease the overall golfer experience. 

Actions we are taking:

  • To help prepare for potential water restrictions, we are looking at various ways to help minimize water use and increase water retention including changes in irrigation scheduling and mowing practices.
  • Where stormwater reuse is available, we’ll be using it to water some golf courses.
  • If outdoor water restrictions are enacted, Rough and Out of Play areas (which equal 360 acres of grass) will no longer be watered.
  • Greens (which equal 12.5 acres) are a valuable investment and will continue to be watered as needed.

City buildings, services and infrastructure

City buildings and parkades

Actions we are taking:

  • We’re reducing outdoor watering of plants, flowers and grass at City-owned and operated buildings. 
  • Outdoor decorative fountains are running on reduced schedules or turned off completely. 
  • We’ve reduced City parkade floor scrubbing from monthly to an as-needed basis and only the lower levels that accumulate the most dirt are scrubbed.

Street sweeping

During the street-sweeping program, we minimize the use of water to only what is operationally necessary to minimize dust and air pollution.

Actions we are taking:

  • We schedule higher water use operations, like street-sweeping, prior to the normal drought season.
  • We use water meters when using hydrants to monitor water use and reduce it where possible.
  • We use water outside of peak demand times by doing work like bridge washing at night.

Seasonal maintenance

  • During winter maintenance, we use liquid anti-icing agents, which results in less materials on roadways and reduces water use while street-sweeping.
  • During gravel lane maintenance, we use calcium chloride rather than water, which helps with dust abatement while also hardening the lane.

Water main maintenance and repairs

We know you rely on us to provide reliable access to clean and safe water. When outages happen, we work to restore service as quickly as possible. City crews do their best to limit water use where possible.

Actions we are taking:

  • We have methods in place to reduce overall flushing volumes and we reduce planned work, where possible, to limit required flushing after the work is complete.
  • When possible, we are using technology to reduce response times and water loss related to water main breaks and other repairs.

Water use for health, safety or regulatory needs

If a repair is being done to a water main, some critical water main flushing activities may take place to remove any sediment and contaminates in the pipes to ensure safe, high-quality drinking water to customers.

City vehicles

Actions we are taking:

Exterior washing of City vehicles, fire trucks and buses is limited to only where necessary and at a frequency required for health and safety.   

City infrastructure

Actions we are taking:

We're accelerating our water loss reduction program across The City's water infrastructure to detect and fix leaks. 

Water reuse initiatives

Not only are we working to conserve water during drought season, but we also have other water reuse initiatives that we’re supporting.

Calgary Fire Department

An innovative system collects, treats and reuses water used by Calgary firefighters at our training centre.

Water is stored in a clean water reservoir that also serves as a training facility for aquatic crews to practice dive and water rescues.

This award-winning system has saved one Olympic-sized pool of water every six days since it’s creation in 2011, meaning practically zero water waste for firefighters while training.

Shepard Energy Centre

At Enmax's Shepard Energy Centre, they use 100 per cent reclaimed water from the Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant for all its power generation needs. Each year, this saves the plant from having to draw nearly six billion litres of freshwater from the Bow River.