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City explores regional water plan

The City of Calgary confirmed they are exploring options surrounding the provision of regional utility services yesterday, including water delivery.

The City of Calgary confirmed they are exploring options surrounding the provision of regional utility services yesterday, including water delivery.

Wolf Keller, director of water services, said city council did have an in-camera session about regional land use partnerships and how services could be co-ordinated, but as a part of a regional growth strategy, rather than just Calgary.

“Privatization (of water services) was never discussed or on the table; council is looking at many options,” he said.

Keller responded to an article published by Metro yesterday that suggested the city was seeking alternative options for water services, one of which was possibly looking to third-party providers.

Mayor Dave Bronconnier said the city was simply looking at several options for how Calgary can service the regional partnerships with the 18 municipalities surrounding the city.

“We would never sell our utility. We are looking at the what-ifs and how we can service these municipalities over the next 50 years,” Bronconnier said.

Bronconnier said Calgary already sells water services in bulk to communities such as Airdrie, which then sell water to their clients.

“It would be like a case of municipality-to-munici-pality, like what we do now,” he said of the partnerships. “Calgary has a lot of water but we have to protect Calgary first.”

EPCOR vice-president of water development Joe Gysel said he wouldn’t be surprised if Calgary moved towards a private-public partnership to deliver water services, and he would be pleased if EPCOR expanded further into the Calgary region.

“Absolutely, we’re expanding into these types of operations all over North America,” he said, adding EPCOR is also looking to other areas in Ontario, and in Winnipeg and Arizona.

 
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