The Bow River meanders through Alberta's most populated regions and is the main headstream of the South Saskatchewan River.

By managing its water levels, it helps the province to respond to extreme weather events, drought, and floods.

The Alberta government began engagement and field studies for Phase 2 of the Bow River Reservoir Options initiative, the feasibility study, in 2021.

The feasibility study assesses the technical feasibility of the reservoir options while taking into consideration the social, environmental, cultural, engineering, and economic elements, and traditional land use.

As part of the feasibility study, they are looking at three reservoir options upstream of Calgary in the Bow River basin.

The first option they are exploring is expanding the existing Ghost Dam Reservoir.

The second option is building a new reservoir between Cochrane and the Bearspaw Dam on Calgary's western edge, with their final option being to build a new reservoir between Seebe and Morley on Stoney Nakoda Nations reserve land.

While conducting the feasibility study, they are also exploring other options that could help provide the same flood and drought protection level as a reservoir.

Now that their feasibility study is almost completed, the provincial government is asking for the public's opinion on how to move forward with improving water storage on the Bow River.

By increasing water storage on the Bow, it helps to protect communities from future floods and droughts.

"Droughts and flood protection are top of mind for many of us this year, especially in Calgary and southern Alberta. We have been looking hard at various options to protect downstream communities and the families who call them home," explained Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas in a media release from April 15th. "Now we need Albertans’ feedback to help us decide if one of these options should proceed."

Until May 6th, Albertans are encouraged to provide input on two possible options the government is proposing.

At this time, the option for a reservoir in Morley is not ready for public engagement, so this round of public input will focus on the other two options.

The first option is to expand the existing Ghost Reservoir, while the second option is to build a new reservoir between the Bearspaw Dam near Calgary and Cochrane.

The information provided through the online questionnaire will be used in conjunction with the information from the feasibility study once it's completed in December, and the government will decide if there is an option that should proceed to the next phase.

They will also use this information to determine how to proceed with the engineering and regulatory approval.

To learn more about how to provide input on the reservoir, head over to the Bow River engagement webpage.