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A May 2017 report by the Bow River Working Group identified 3 reservoir options that warrant further study.

From November 2018 to spring 2020, the Alberta government completed a conceptual assessment of the following water storage options along the Bow River upstream of Calgary:

  1. Glenbow East Option – a new reservoir located between Ghost Reservoir and Bearspaw Dam
  2. Relocated Ghost Dam Option – an expansion of the existing Ghost Reservoir
  3. Morley Option – a new reservoir located near Morley between the Horseshoe Dam and Ghost Reservoir

In the fall of 2020, the Alberta government will launch a feasibility study of the three water storage options in order to determine the most feasible option.

Project details

The potential selection and implementation of a reservoir option on the Bow River will be approached in four phases:

  • Phase 1: Conceptual Assessment
  • Phase 2: Feasibility Study
  • Phase 3: Detailed Design, Engineering and Regulatory Approvals
  • Phase 4: Construction

Phase 1 – the conceptual assessment – began in November 2018 and concluded in spring 2020. The conceptual assessment consisted of:

  • high-level hydrology study
  • conceptual design of all 3 reservoir options
  • tabletop geotechnical investigation
  • high-level environmental scan
  • engagement with First Nations, Métis, potentially affected stakeholders, and the public

No comparison between the options or recommendations for a preferred option were made during the conceptual assessment.

Phase 2 – the feasibility study – will begin in fall 2020 and is expected to conclude by spring 2023. Extending the work completed in the conceptual assessment, the feasibility study will consist of:

  • detailed hydrology study
  • on-site geotechnical investigation
  • additional environmental analysis
  • optimization of the three reservoir dam design, sites and alignment
  • cost-benefit analysis for each option
  • continued engagement with First Nations, Métis, potentially affected stakeholders, and the public

The feasibility study will assess the technical requirements and costs of the three options with the intent of determining and recommending the best option to proceed to detailed design, engineering and regulatory approval (Phase 3).

Study corridor

The reservoir options considered in the conceptual assessment, which will be the base case for further study and optimization in the feasibility study, are located along the Bow River, from Seebe to Calgary. The map below shows the selected locations and extents of the associated reservoirs.

Figure 1. Selected locations and extents of associated reservoirs

Animation and drone video presentations

This YouTube presentation shows computer generated animations and drone imagery stills of the Relocated Ghost Dam Option and the Glenbow East Option. This interactive Bow Basin presentation provides study maps, site specific drone imagery and photos, and computer generated animations for the Glenbow East and Relocated Ghost Dam options. Discussions with Stoney Nakoda Nation are ongoing, therefore there are no animations or imagery available for the Morley Option at this time.

Bow River Working Group

The Bow River Working Group consists of:

  • municipalities along the Bow River, including the City of Calgary and Rocky View County
  • First Nations, including Stoney Nakoda Nation and Siksika Nation
  • TransAlta
  • the irrigation districts
  • Bow River Basin Council
  • environmental organizations
  • both provincial and federal government departments

The Bow River Working Group will continue to provide input on this project.

Indigenous and Public engagement

Indigenous and public engagement will continue in the feasibility study. Engagement opportunities will be announced as they are planned.

For more information


For questions about Bow River reservoir options:

Phone: 403-355-2491
Email: [email protected]

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