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Fortress Ski Hill Should Not Truck Mountain Water to Calgary

July 25, 2019

Fortress Mountain ski hill is proposing to remove 50 million liters per year of water flowing into Kananaskis’ Galatea Creek and truck it to a Calgary water bottling facility. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) strongly opposes this water use and calls on Fortress ski hill to withdraw its proposal.

“Instead of driving thousands of truckloads of mountain stream water each year to Calgary, Fortress Mountain ski hill should leave the 50 million liters of water that it clearly doesn’t need for its ski business where it belongs, in the mountain stream,” says Carolyn Campbell, AWA conservation specialist. “Fortress ski hill should have the highest water conservation practices possible given its privileged position surrounded by Alberta mountain parks. This proposal definitely doesn’t meet that standard.”

Fortress ski hill is permitted to withdraw water for its ski business from a stream that flows into the well known and well loved Galatea Creek in Spray Valley Provincial Park. Galatea Creek flows into Kananaskis River, which flows to the Bow River. One of the bizarre aspects of this proposal is that Fortress ski hill is seeking to use part of its water license to truck 50 million liters of water to a Calgary water bottling facility that is probably already pumping its water from the Bow River. The Bow is where Galatea Creek water naturally flows whilst providing multiple benefits along its route.

This trucked bottled water, which may be branded as pure mountain water, is actually bad for the environment. Its higher impacts include removing water from a small mountain stream, greenhouse gas emissions to pump and truck water already flowing naturally to Calgary, and bottling water when we need to greatly reduce our overall packaging and waste.

Mountain ‘headwaters’ lands receive snow, rain and melting glacier water that provide most of the flows of the Bow and other major Alberta rivers. This water benefits mountain ecosystems, absorbs into the ground and provides essential year-round ‘base flows’ to rivers. The Bow River’s water is already over-allocated for meeting instream environmental needs, the Bow’s average annual flow rates are in decline, and Albertans owe it to future generations to choose much more sustainable uses of energy and water.

Alberta Wilderness Association asks concerned Albertans to oppose this proposal by respectfully writing both Fortress ski hill (thomas.heath@skifortress.com) and the Alberta government (aep.waapplications@gov.ab.ca) no later than August 4th. Please cite Application number 003-00037369, and File number 12562. Fortress ski hill’s application can be found at this link until August 4th, 2019.

For more information:

Carolyn Campbell, Alberta Wilderness Association (403) 283-2025

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