PUBLISHED: 11 March 2024      Last Edited: 11 March 2024

Five Year Summary (2018 – 2023)

Drafts of the Legal Agreements (including the Development, Management, and User Agreements as well as the Cooperative Articles and Bylaws) were completed in April 2020, initiating partner review. In the fall of 2020, Wheatland County Council did not approve the CSMI Legal Agreements and chose not to continue as a member of CSMI. The Legal Agreements were redrafted and on October 15, 2020 the City of Calgary Council approved the CSMI Legal Agreements and directed Administration to finalize the documents to enter into the Cooperative. Rocky View County Council passed resolutions to sign the CSMI Legal Agreements on October 27, 2020. The WID Board approved their participation in CSMI on October 28, 2020, and Strathmore Council unanimously approved their participation on November 18, 2020. CSMI was therefore incorporated in December of 2020, and the Bylaws were executed and filed in June 2021.

In December 2019, the City of Chestermere formally withdrew from CSMI to explore other stormwater options. Chestermere administration provided a letter to the CSMI Partners expressing their intention to provide support to facilitate the project going forward.

CSMI then began negotiations of a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Chestermere, which was needed for access of shared infrastructure at the Rainbow Falls Underdrain. This MOU was intended to be subsequently replaced by a Use of Works Agreement that would outline the specific responsibilities of the parties with respect to the relevant Stage 1-S infrastructure. On June 2, 2021, Chestermere formally declined to accept the terms of the Agreement that were proposed by CSMI. In 2022, CSMI therefore completed a preliminary design for an alternative option that will achieve the same objectives of CSMI without requiring the use of Chestermere’s Rainbow Falls infrastructure.

CSMI was contacted by Chestermere in 2023 to discuss interest in returning to CSMI. CSMI provided the requested information and remains open to discussions should Chestermere choose to re-engage with CSMI.

CSMI was contacted by Wheatland County to discuss their interest in returning to the Cooperative in spring of 2022. With the news of the De Havilland plant development, CSMI sent a letter to Wheatland’s CAO offering to re-engage and collaborate on this regional stormwater drainage solution.  While Wheatland has not yet re-engaged, CSMI remains open to future discussions.

Planning workshops completed in May 2021 allowed CSMI partners and MPE to identify three main tasks approved under the Alberta Community Partnership (ACP) funding program for $200,000, including the Regional Stormwater Guidelines and Policies, the Water Monitoring Program, and the Rural Best Management Practices Program.

Throughout 2021 and 2022, CSMI and MPE worked towards creating the CSMI Stormwater Guidelines (the Guidelines), which will ultimately identify priority stormwater modelling parameters and performance expectations that will outline future development design considerations. Future development in the CSMI Developed Areas must follow the Guidelines to ensure CSMI meets regulatory commitments and to maintain the integrity of the system and downstream outlet. Within the Guidelines, the partners developed a flow chart of timing and interaction between municipal, provincial and CSMI processes, and implemented a CSMI letter to endorse developments within each municipality and sign-off as part of the Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (AEPA) process. The first draft of the Guidelines was circulated internally in June 2021. The next review of the Guidelines has been paused until further discussion of the Volume Control Targets (VCTs), which are described further in the “Volume Control Targets Analysis” section of this document.

A regional Water Monitoring Program (including quality, volume, and rate of discharge) was identified to establish an off-season stormwater release, develop a continuous stormwater release, and determine reactive monitoring practices that could be implemented in the event of a potential non-compliance in the system. This Monitoring Program was drafted in September 2021, and will be finalized following further VCT discussions.

In collaboration with MPE and Palliser Environmental Services Ltd. (PESL), CSMI completed drafting the Regional Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) Strategy in December 2022. The Strategy outlines opportunities in the CSMI region to utilize BMPs that can improve hydrology and water quality in the natural systems. It will be utilized over time when funding is available to implement or further plan the rural BMPs, as it outlines objectives, BMP options, monitoring, priorities, timelines and cost estimates.

An additional ACP scope of $180,000 was awarded to CSMI in 2022 to conduct a Low Impact Development (LID) study. The new scope began in 2023 and focuses on understanding existing LID knowledge, identifying gaps, and prioritizing research areas for CSMI. Findings from this work will be used alongside the Guidelines as LIDs will likely be needed by developers to meet the CSMI water quality and quantity standards. The LID study is anticipated to be completed by Spring 2024.

CSMI has received $11.7M of funding from the Alberta Community Resilience Program (ACRP). These funds have been put towards ongoing engineering and construction costs of Stages 1-E, 1-S, and 2-S. CSMI has received a grant extension to December 2026.

CSMI received $2.1M from the Federal New Build Canada Fund to fund the north system. However, in 2023 CSMI applied to shift these funds to the south system to allow further federal funding of the north system.

Rocky View County, on behalf of CSMI, applied for $8.8M of funding from the federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) Program. The application was submitted on July 19, 2023, and, if received, funding would be allocated to Stages 1-N and 2-N. Results of the program are expected to be shared in early 2024.

Thanks to the substantial provincial and federal grant funding noted above, the municipal financial contributions for the initial stages of CSMI are significantly reduced. The remaining municipal financial contribution amount is proportionally shared between municipalities and will be funded through collection of stormwater levies, which are paid by developers who will tie into the CSMI system. Receipt of this “seed funding” was needed to enable development and initiate the collection of stormwater levies by the municipalities.

The proportionate share calculation takes into consideration municipal development area projections and which infrastructure of the CSMI system will be used by each municipality. This approach ensures that the costs are distributed equitably amongst the partner municipalities.

CSMI began an analysis in the fall of 2022 to explore a higher Volume Control Target (VCT) for the CSMI Development Area upstream of Weed Lake. A VCT indicates the volume of stormwater that can be released into CSMI in millimetres per year.  VCTs are critical to managing the average discharge into the CSMI system from each municipality and therefore play an important role in managing erosion and maintaining water quality. Increasing the VCT would help decrease municipal development cost by reducing the Best Management Practices and Low Impact Development (LID) required. Partners are currently reviewing the VCT analysis to determine the preferred path forward.

Stage 1-E construction was completed in early 2022 and will be used to convey stormwater from the Town of Strathmore and the surrounding rural areas. Stage 1-E consisted of the installation of a new underdrain for existing and future stormwater runoff to bypass the Western Irrigation District’s (WID) irrigation canal (B Canal). Installation of Stage 1-E provides a continuous stormwater outfall for the Lakewood development in the Town of Strathmore, which is now in its second phase of development. Permanent stormwater ponds for Lakewood have been constructed and received all necessary regulatory approvals required for discharge into the CSMI system. Lakewood’s stormwater outfall into CSMI became operational in fall 2023.

Construction of Stage 1-S was completed in early 2022 through a collaborative effort between the Western Irrigation District (WID), MPE, and Whissell Contracting Ltd. While pipe procurement and a duck’s nest extended the timeline, construction was completed including a bypass around the South end of Chestermere Lake. The original 1-S design included the Rainbow Falls underdrain; without Chestermere as a partner CSMI is moving forward with design of a Parallel System to avoid the use of existing infrastructure. Once complete, the Parallel System will tie into the Chestermere Lake Bypass to bring the CSMI Point of Custody further west, where Rocky View County and the City of Calgary will connect.

In addition to the Parallel System, in 2022 CSMI partners began discussions of extending the South System Point of Custody further upstream, to where the City of Calgary and Rocky View County flows would combine. Labelled the 1-S Extension, this stage also avoids requiring municipality owned conveyance infrastructure within the Chestermere boundaries. The alternative Point of Custody was approved in 2023, and Stage 1-S Extension construction is anticipated to begin in 2025.

Stage 2-S detailed design and landowner engagement began in the Fall of 2022, and construction of this phase is currently planned to begin in 2024. As the Master Water Act Approval (Master Approval) application is ongoing, Stage 2-S will have an individual Water Act application. Construction of Stage 2-S, along with Stage 1-S and the 1-S Extension, will convey water from the City of Calgary’s Belvedere ASP and Rocky View County’s Janet ASP.

Right of way is required from several private landowners along the 2-S system to construct the CSMI parallel canal. As landowners are valuing land higher than anticipated, CSMI is exploring an alternative solution that would allow individual landowners to connect to CSMI in place of financial compensation for the right of way. It is anticipated that this approach will help CSMI acquire the necessary land and move towards construction in 2024.

In early 2022 an NDA between Rocky View County, WID, and WaterSMART was signed, allowing MPE to begin drafting staging options for 1-N. The scoping study provided a Stage 1-N and 2-N Alternative East option, which would follow the Right of Way of Township Road 250, removing a majority of landowner concerns for this stage. Detailed design and construction of the North System is anticipated to begin in the next few years.

Upon completion of landowner engagement for Stage 1-S, CSMI submitted the Stage 1-S EPEA application on June 26, 2020. The application was approved, and a Registration was issued, effective August 21, 2020. In the Fall of 2021, the CSMI table representative for AEPA suggested that CSMI consider a Master Water Act Approval process for the CSMI System to evaluate and mitigate the cumulative impact of the CSMI system that may be overlooked by separating each stage into individual applications. This Master Approval may also help streamline future CSMI Stage provincial regulatory permits required prior to construction. For this application WID was chosen to be the Master Approval Holder as they are the landowners and operators of the CSMI System.

The Master Approval application was paused in the Fall of 2022 as the CSMI partners began re-evaluating the VCTs of the Stormwater System. Once the VCT is decided, the Master Approval will continue with a target submission in 2024.

CSMI initiated the CSMI Communications Plan in July 2018, focusing on online outreach through the CSMI website ( and social media. Multiple public presentations were held on the CSMI project throughout 2018 and 2019 in various partner municipalities. Presentations continue to be given upon request to partner Councils and other regional stakeholders.

CSMI aimed to increase public engagement and communications in 2022. An updated CSMI Communications Framework was created in June 2022 with a focus on three main pillars. The first pillar considers public engagement requirements for the Master Approval. The second pillar includes a list of “Volume Control Target Frequently Asked Questions,” which will be used to support discussions with developers in the future. The third pillar is a communications plan which centers around an updated CSMI website. Work began to update this website to provide current information and function as a landing page for news releases to highlight project milestones.

CSMI’s first AGM was held in May 2022. CSMI appointed Shajani LLP as an external auditor, and CSMI has now received two successful audits from 2021 and 2022. The 2023 audit is scheduled for early 2024. A budget is prepared annually for the CSMI Cooperative based on the anticipated upcoming administration, operational, and development activities. The budget must be approved by each Director prior to issuance of invoices. The financial support team reports on CSMI’s financial position at each quarterly Board meeting to ensure that funds are being managed accurately and in alignment with the budget and annual development plan. CSMI’s financial procedures are outlined in the CSMI Policy and Procedures Manual, which is updated and approved annually by the Board.

Upon review of the CSMI By-Laws and Legal Agreements, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has given CSMI the status of a not-for-profit as of January 1, 2024.  

Figure 1 Timeline of significant milestones for CSMI from 2018 to 2023, organized into three categories: Governance & communications, Funding, and Engineering, regulatory & construction.

Moving into 2024 CSMI aims to proceed with landowner negotiations and complete Stage 2-S construction. The CSMI members will continue to discuss an increase in the VCT upstream of Weed Lake while continuing to work on the Master Approval and Stormwater Guidelines.

Many thanks to Rocky View County, The City of Calgary, The Town of Strathmore, and The Western Irrigation District for their membership in CSMI. Thank you to our Board of Directors for their continued service: Byron Riemann, Megan Van Ham, Ethan Wilson, and Jeff Gibeau. On behalf of the Board, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed their time and effort throughout the last five years as we formalized this long-time initiative into a fully operational Cooperative and completed our first major construction projects. I would also like to recognize WaterSMART Solutions (project administration), MPE (engineering), RTB (accounting), Shajani LLP (audit), Norton Rose Fulbright (legal), and Dentons LLP (legal) for their ongoing support.


Dr. P. Kim Sturgess, C.M., P.Eng.