Calgary Herald - June 25th

The rising Bow River is to blame for the closure of a road near Glenmore Trail and Deerfoot Trail S.E.

The small portion of eastbound Heritage Drive directly underneath Glenmore Trail near Glendeer Circle has been shut down indefinitely, the city announced this evening.

A spokesperson for the city said it’s possible the road will be reopened on Monday. ...Click here to read more.

Calgary Sun - June 25th

The province is crafting a new urban drilling policy, Calgary Northwest MLA Sandra Jansen announced Sunday at a rally opposing a company’s plan to extract oil within their community.

And though it won’t immediately halt Kaiser Exploration Ltd.’s plans to drill the sweet well, just 400 metres from homes and businesses, residents of Rocky Ridge and Royal Oak hope the policy will have an impact on the ongoing review of the project.

During an afternoon rally held at the Royal Oak shopping centre, Jansen announced Energy Minister Ken Hughes is prepared to begin working on an urban drilling policy.

“There are natural resource reserves in urban areas all over the province so what we need to make sure that we do now is begin working on the kind of policy that takes into account high density areas,” she said. ... Click here to read more.

GlobalTV Calgary - June 25th

A community initiative has children painting yellow fish near storm drains. As Gil Tucker reports, it alerts people about the dangers of dumping.

This story is told in video format. To watch the video click here. 

CBC News Calgary - June 25th

A Calgary lab executive is warning that Alberta could be the next location of an E. coli outbreak.

Chris Bolton, CEO of Benchmark Labs, has found E. coli 0157 — the pathogen that led to the deaths of seven people in Walkerton, Ont., 12 years ago — in several spots across southern Alberta.

He worries an Alberta community could be the next Walkerton, and says too many cattle operations are doing too little to keep their manure runoff out of the waterways.

"There doesn't seem to be any containment between the open livestock pens, the dairy barns and the other facilities that are here, and they slope directly down to the canal," Bolton said. ... Click here to read more. 

Postmedia News - June 24th

British Columbia residents facing a flood emergency this weekend can partly blame 19th-century gold miners for their woes.

Two Canadian scientists have shown how the Fraser River — the waterway at the heart of British Columbia's history, and currently the focus of a flood threat in Abbotsford and elsewhere in B.C.'s Lower Mainland — was significantly altered by 19th-century fortune seekers, whose dumped mine tailings from the Fraser's gold-rich banks and tributaries accumulated at critical points along the southern course of the river and continue inching toward its Pacific outlet today.

The study of the ongoing "geomorphic impact" of 1800s-era placer mining in the Fraser watershed, co-authored by UBC researchers Andrew Nelson and Michael Church and published in the latest Geological Society of America (GSA) Bulletin, argues that present-day flood and fishery


Calgary Sun - July 23rd

A University of Alberta scientist says problems at Pigeon Lake will continue to worsen if development in the area grows — this after a slew of dead fish washed up on the sand along Ma-Me-O Beach Sunday.Lake residents said Sunday that “thousands” of fish had washed up on shore, which they were concerned could turn visitors away.

While not uncommon, it is alarming, says David Schindler, a renowned University of Alberta water doc. Schindler says warm temperatures raises the temperature of shallow bodies of water, like Pigeon Lake.... Click here to read more.



Lacombe Globe - June 21st

Plains Midstream Canada has deployed a third boom at the Dickson Dam reservoir site as they continue to clean up the June 7 oil spill, which released between 1,000 and 3,000 barrels of light sour crude oil into the regional water system.

The spill was first believed to have originated from a leak in Jackson Creek. It was later determined that the leak actually came from a source under the Red Deer River.

Plains Midstream has yet to determine exactly how the leak happened. They are focusing more on four key parts of the clean up efforts, including containment and protection of wildlife. ... Click here to read more.

TBNewsWatch - June 21st

The federal government has spent millions of dollars shipping bottled water to a remote First Nation community with an ineffective water treatment plant.

Marten Falls First Nation has had a boil water advisory since 2007. Bottled water is the community’s only access to clean drinking water, and as a result the First Nation has had to rely on that bottled water being shipped from Thunder Bay about twice a week.

These shipments have been coming in for nearly five years and the shipping costs are estimated to be more than $300,000 annually. ... Click here to read more. 

Marketwire - June 21st

The Alberta President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is speaking out against the poor quality of water on Alberta's First Nations communities.

Marle Roberts is calling on the government to take action regarding the fact over two-thirds of Alberta's First Nations communities have boil water advisories.

"As the union for most municipal water workers in Alberta, we understand the importance of safe drinking water, and we're appalled at the situation," said Roberts. ... Click here to read more. 

Nunatsiaq online - June 21

After a period of rapid Arctic sea ice loss through the first half of June, sea ice extent is now slightly below 2010 levels, the previous record low at this time of year, the Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center said in a June 20 update.

And the speed at which the sea ice is melting on the Arctic Ocean puts the coverage behind 2007 — when sea ice hit a record low in September.

Recent ice loss rates have been 100,000 to 150,000 square kilometres per day, more than double the usual rate, the NSIDC said. ... Click here to read more.

Banff Crag and Canyon - June 20th

Everyone was talking about it, but two friends from Canmore actually did it.

Ray Schmidt and Chris Mctaggart took advantage of the river’s high water levels last week and kayaked over the Bow Falls to the surprise and delight of tourists who happened to be on the shoreline.

The two paddling buddies wanted to take on the one section of the Bow River they’d never crossed before, and the high water made the normally dangerous Bow Falls safer to navigate. But don’t think just anybody could do it. Schmidt’s been paddling for over 10 years, and Mctaggart is one of the best kayakers in the country — he narrowly missed a spot on the 2012 Olympic team. ... Click here to read more. 

Calgary Herald - June 19th

Environment Minister Diana McQueen has arrived in Rio de Janeiro for a United Nations conference, vowing to promote the Alberta government's record on an array of green issues.

Critics have long charged the province falls short on environmental matters such as climate change and oilsands development, but McQueen said she will tout Alberta's progress surrounding energy production and sustainable development.

"We're proud of the environmental practices we have and the regulatory practices we have," she said in an interview before heading to the conference. ... Click here to read more. 

CBC News - June 18th

What is a sip of clean water worth? Is there economic value in the shade of a tree? And how much would you pay for a breath of fresh air?

Putting a price on a natural bounty long taken for granted as free may sound impossible, even ridiculous. But after three decades on the fringes of serious policymaking, the idea is gaining traction, from the vividly clear waters of the Maldives to the sober, suited reaches of the World Bank.

As traditional measures of economic progress like GDP are criticized for ignoring downsides like pollution or diminishment of resources such as fresh water or fossil fuels, there has been an increased urgency to arguments for a more balanced and accurate reckoning of costs.

That is particularly so as fast-developing nations such as India and China jostle with rich nations for access to those resources and insist on their own right to pollute


The United Nations Conferences on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) conference in Brazil is this week. The following is a roundup of the publications being disseminated surrounding water and Canada's participation.

The conference takes place from June 20th to June 22nd. 

New York Times Blogs - June 18th

Dodging quicksand and rattlesnakes, Ted Mouras will spend Saturday morning walking along a five-mile stretch of a remote section of southeastern Arizona’s San Pedro River Basin in triple-digit heat for the annual wet/dry mapping of its water levels. A retired Army officer, he has volunteered annually to help the Nature Conservancy and its partners determine how the prolonged drought in the Southwest and the depletion of aquifers from local use affect the river.

Equipped with GPS technology, sturdy hiking boots and plenty of water, Mr. Mouras and more than 150 other volunteers will fan out to collect data along the more than 220 miles of the river basin, from its headwater streams in Mexico to the confluence with the Gila River near Winkelman, Ariz. The San Pedro’s tributary streams, some of which lie thousands of feet above the river and its valley,


Rocky View Weekly - June 18th

Rocky View County council unanimously voted to adjust water and sewer rates in Balzac, Langdon and East Rocky View, June 12.

The changes to the Master Rates Bylaw include a redefinition of low-, medium- and high-volume usage, as well as corresponding rate changes.

“With these rate adjustments, we are moving toward full cost recovery,” said Deputy Reeve Margaret Bahcheli.

County staff told council cost recovery through user fees and charges will ensure more accurate budgeting. ... Click here to read more.


Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada Spring Water Forum presentations are now online to be viewed.

The presentations are:

  • Keynote: Implications of Recent Merge of Alberta Environment and Water and Sustainable Resource Development and 2012 Energy Policy Priorities
  • Water Innovation Planning Committee Update
  • Water Strategy and Water Management Planning in Shale Gas Development
  • CAPP Hydraulic Fracturing Operating Practices
  • BC Fracture Fluid Disclosure and Overview of
  • Projections of Long-Term Surface Water Requirements for Hydraulic Fracturing in the Montney Trend in relation to Water Supply
  • Fracturing Case Studies in Water Usage
  • Fracture Water Recycling Feasibility Study and Decision Tool
  • Reuse of Flowback & Produced Water for Hydraulic Fracturing in Tight Oil
  • The Modern Practice of Hydraulic Fracturing: A Primer for Canadian Resources
  • Water Act Modernization
  • Knowledge

 University of Lethbridge - June 15th

A recent pipeline rupture in the Red Deer River might have relatively short term environmental damage, but a larger concern is the vast number of older pipeline locations at river crossings and their vulnerability to floods, according to a leading expert in floodplain and river bank ecosystems.

Dr. Stewart Rood, a University of Lethbridge Environmental Science researcher and member of the Water Institute for Sustainable Environments at the University of Lethbridge, has already started on a study of the Red Deer River oil spill, looking at more than 30 km of river shoreline downstream from the spill.

He and his colleagues are looking for opportunities to learn from this particular spill, and then turn their research findings into a set of guidelines for developing oil pipelines near, over or under waterways.

“River crossings are especially prone to


Fort McMurray Today - June 15th

Energy company Shell Canada has pleaded guilty to releasing a toxic substance into the Peace River, located in northwestern Alberta, and has agreed to pay a fine of $225,000.

Shell was charged after an open valve allowed approximately 12,500 litres of sodium bisulphite to flow into the river in August 2009. The company uses the chemical to remove oxygen from water and to prevent pipeline corrosion. ... Click here to read more.


Financial Post - June 15th

The Alberta government is coming under pressure to include pipeline leaks in the “world-class” environmental monitoring system it is developing, with people living near a recent spill saying they don’t want the studies to stop after the cleanup is over.

While the shape of a promised, provincewide system for tracking environmental impacts of industrial development is still being determined, Alberta Environment spokesman Mark Cooper said including pipeline spills is possible.

“We need to look at that as we develop the system,” he said.

“I’m not saying that we wouldn’t pay more close attention to following up to see the long-term impacts on situations like this. We could very well. It makes sense that we do that.” ... Click here to read more.


OSLI Storybank - June 14th

It's official: the Alberta government has certified the OSLI-inspired Water Treatment Operator Program. That means graduates of the program — offered for the first time this fall at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) — will receive a Certificate of Accreditation.

"It's been two-and-a-half years of hard slogging by the OSLI team, SAIT and subject matter experts to put this program together, but receiving accreditation made it all worth while," says Duane Kichton, who as OSLI's project lead for the Water Treatment Operator program has worked on the project since its inception.

"We were asked to put together this program to address the need for higher levels of expertise to operate the complex water treatment plants that are critical to the success of SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage) operations, and we've done just that."... Click here to


Calgary Herald - June 14th

A day spent blazing new paths through McLean Creek on ATVs and dirt bikes was a blast for Matthew Sirianni more than a year ago.

But the 12-year-old is having second thoughts about the popular pastime southwest of Calgary after learning how vehicles driven off set trails can unknowingly cause soil erosion and hurt water quality.

Eighty-four Grade 7 students at Rundle College Junior-Senior High School spent much of the past year discovering how off-roading can have lasting effects on the environment, particularly in McLean Creek.

They’re now determined to take what they’ve learned directly to Alberta Environment. ... Click here to read more.


CTV Calgary - June 11th

Residents in three northwest Calgary communities will need to continue to boil their water to ensure it is safe to use.

The advisory, which was put in place in the city on Thursday, was lifted on Sunday for three communities: The Hamptons, Hidden Valley, and Sherwood.

Homeowners in Kincora, Nolan Hill, and Sage Hill will have to wait for the all clear from city authorities before it is safe to drink their water again.

For those out of the advisory, city officials say that they should take precautions before using their water again. "Flush the pipe system within your home or business by running each cold water tap used for drinking for about five minutes. Wash tap aerators and screens that you have on those systems in hot, soapy water. Then they should be disinfected for ten minutes with one part bleach and ten parts water. Disinfect any water filters to the


At the AGM on June 8th, the OWC released their 2011-2012 Annual Report. It highlights the OWC's various accomplishments over the past year as well as their goals for the current year.

It highlights the OWC's various accomplishments over the past year as
well as their goals for the current year.


In this issue of Western Irrigration District's Dispatch:

  • The Bow River is Safe with the New Harvie Passage
  • Thanks to Irrigation
  • Seed Growers' Tour
  • Construction Update
  • Meetings and Workshops
  • E-mail Collection
  • Communication is Key

Click here to download the .pdf