Project Update

On October 17, 2023, City Council approved the Drought Resilience Plan, which is now available here.

Thank you to all Calgarians who participated in engagement activities to help inform this important Plan for our city.

About the Project

We are preparing now, so we are ready for the future

We are working on a Drought Resilience Plan that is exploring a variety of proactive strategies to help our homes, businesses and park spaces adapt and use less water outdoors, so they can thrive in a drier climate.

Through previous research, these strategies were identified as viable solutions to Calgary’s drought risks and vulnerabilities and are widely used by other drought prone cities across North America.

They range from lower cost and easier to implement projects to larger and more complex projects to be initiated over the next 5-10 years.

There is no silver bullet and ensuring access to a safe, reliable water supply will require several strategies and the participation of other levels of government, industry, businesses, and individuals. While the strategies presented here for your feedback are largely focused on ways to reduce how much we use outdoors, the Plan includes other strategies that will help protect our water supply.

Calgary is prone to drought. How we adapt is key.

We are fortunate to have two mountain-fed rivers flowing into Calgary, but into the future our rivers and water supply are facing pressures from a growing population, limits on how much water we can draw from the river and the effects of a changing climate where droughts will be more common.

In Calgary, all the water we drink and use in our everyday activities comes from the Bow and Elbow Rivers. Building resilience to drought today means Calgary will be better prepared for changes to our climate and help protect the rivers we all rely on.

The consequences of drought are far reaching

  • Lower river flows and less water available during times of the year when demand is at its highest
  • Impacts to local agriculture
  • Health of plants, wildlife, wetlands, trees, parks and open spaces, recreational opportunities, and private yards
  • Drying out forests increases the risk of wildfires, affecting air and water quality

From river floods to droughts – Calgary has a variable climate

Calgary is a dry climate, and because of our proximity to the mountains, we can experience unpredictable swings in the weather from heavy rains leading to floods to many weeks of dry temperatures and little rain leading to droughts.

A multi-year drought impacting Calgary is one of our city’s top climate risks. Impacts may also accumulate in severity when other compounding climate risks such as heatwaves, wildfires, and changes in seasonality overlap with drought occurrences.

We are listening to Calgarians

To build drought resilience, some of the strategies we are considering need the participation of all Calgarians and businesses to reduce how much water we need and use. How these strategies are designed and implemented will depend on a variety of considerations.

Your feedback, along with feedback from other stakeholders, technical analysis, and provincial regulations will inform the development of the Drought Resilience Plan.

Engagement Archive

Engagement on the Drought Resilience Plan ran from May 24 to June 14, 2022. Findings from this engagement are summarized in two What We Heard reports.

What we heard in engagement

The first What We Heard Report summarizes engagement with internal staff and key local and provincial water resource groups on the draft Drought Resilience Plan framework. This framework includes the draft vision, principles, goals, and strategic actions for advancing drought resilience across Calgary and the watershed.

The second What We Heard Report summarizes engagement with businesses and the public about the proposed strategic actions in the framework most relevant to them and where their feedback would help to inform their future implementation.

Due to a high volume of responses received during the public engagement process, all comments are included in the separate verbatim document.

Archived engagement activities

We are inviting Calgarians, businesses, and youth to share perspectives and ideas on various strategies The City is exploring as part of the Drought Resilience Plan. We want to understand what these programs would mean for you and what you think The City should consider if they are implemented.


We will use your feedback, along with other stakeholders, to shape and refine the strategies that will be presented to Council for approval in fall 2023.