About the Co-operative Stormwater Management Initiative

The Co-operative Stormwater Management Initiative (CSMI) started in 2012 with a grass roots approach. The Western Irrigation District (WID) spearheaded an effort to bring together five partner municipalities and the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) to develop a regional stormwater solution.  



Continual development adjacent to and surrounding the Western Irrigation District (WID) irrigation works has been accelerating stormwater management challenges for both the WID and surrounding communities.  Because there are no natural drainage courses, communities have limited options for stormwater discharge; yet current flooding and discharge into the irrigation works creates ongoing maintenance and water quality challenges for the WID. There is a need to develop a longer term sustainable solution for stormwater management. Recognizing a shared responsibility for the system’s current challenges, surrounding communities have come together as the Cooperative Stormwater Management Initiative (CSMI) to proactively collaborate in developing sustainable stormwater solutions that will accommodate the needs of all interested parties and the environment. 



The figure below shows the geographical boundary of the CSMI regional infrastructure. It is bound by irrigation works of the WID.

CSMI Water Balance

Click to enlarge the figure.



  • Partners include the City of Calgary, the City of Chestermere, Rocky View County (RVC), the Town of Strathmore, Wheatland County, and the Western Irrigation District (WID).
  • Alberta Environment & Parks (AEP) and the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) participate as observers.
  • WaterSMART Solutions Ltd. (Alberta WaterSMART) is the facilitator and domain knowledge contributor.
  • MPE Engineering Ltd has provided the engineers assessments required thus far. 


Collaborative Process

Upon development of the CSMI in 2012, the purpose, desired outcomes, guiding principles, and decision making for CSMI was agreed to by all partners.



  • To create a mechanism to engage in ongoing dialogue for the purposes of sharing information and proactively adapt to an ever-changing stormwater context. 
  • To develop a regional plan for a sustainable stormwater management system that accommodates multiple interests and protects water quality and quantity for downstream users. 

Most recently in 2015, partners recognized that due to different development timing needs in each partner jurisdiction, there is a need for an overall stormwater management strategy that can proceed in a reasonable timeframe, such that no partner is disadvantaged by decisions made by other partners. Therefore, the purpose of CSMI moving forward is also[1]:

  • To agree upon staging of the system to ensure development can occur fairly, and that the infrastructure functions as a system upon completion. 


Desired Outcomes

  • A process for ongoing collaboration.
  • A regional plan for a sustainable stormwater system that: provides ongoing support of  water user needs in the district in terms of water quality and water quantity; meets South Saskatchewan River Basin re-entry requirements and other water body and irrigation canal requirements ; ensures the various parts to the stormwater system are integrated; adopts a collaborative approach to management and funding of the system; is developed using transparent and fact-based processes; and produces a stormwater system that, together with the irrigation system, is resilient in wet years and has the capacity for meeting water user needs in the district in dry years.


Guiding Principles

  • Collaborative, open and transparent, inclusive. 


Contact Information

For more information regarding CSMI activities and outcomes please submit an inquiry through the WaterPortal contact form.

[1]  The 2012 terms of reference also included: to create a mechanism to engage in ongoing dialogue for the purposes of sharing information and proactively adapting to an ever-changing stormwater context.