This article by Dave Klepacki from the Springbank Community website shows what our work has done.

“Why our grandchildren will thank the Tsuu T’ina

Have you ever stopped to give some thought to how our grandchildren will live? I don’t mean hoping they will have a nicer washing machine for their own children’s diapers, or a nice home because you will help their parents afford what is becoming out of reach. I mean really thinking about the future Calgary they will inhabit. The Tsuu T’ina nation is considering their future right now.

“It is our sacred duty to our ancestors, elders, youth and generations to come, to preserve and protect this land, and the land that surrounds us. To protect the water. To protect the air. Second, that no development should threaten the integrity of our Treaty Protected land. Finally, we must be able to justify to future generations, not one or two, but seven or eight, that a development was in their best interests.” These are Chief Lee Crowchild’s words from a Band Council Resolution passed July 10, 2019 in opposition to the Springbank Off Stream Reservoir Project (“SR-1”). The Tsuu T’ina resolution is key to ensuring clean and cold drinking water to future Calgary residents, including our grandchildren.

In 2018 the Elbow River provided 74,900 million of the 187,250 million litres of potable water used by the City of Calgary. If SR-1 is constructed and a flood event similar to 2013 occurs, 70,200 million litres of water will be stored in a shallow reservoir (maximum depth 25m) covering 8 square Kilometers. Note that a stored flood event is nearly a year’s worth of Elbow River water draw. Following the flood event current estimates are the reservoir would require 45-62 days to drain back into the Elbow River.

Floods occur in May to July in our climate, and the turbid, nutrient-rich flood waters in the reservoir are likely to grow cyanobacteria (“blue-green algae”), normal algae, and flood-born fecal coliforms in these warm months. The cost of treating such water increases dramatically. Fort McMurray’s water treatment costs doubled following the fire of 2016, due to the turbidity of the ash and soil in runoff. Algae blooms alone are a huge concern. In 2014 a large toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie meant more than 400,000 residents in Toledo, Ohio couldn’t safely drink their tap water.

This deluge of fouled water will be repeated with each flood event. In the case where no floods happen for five years, the system will need to be tested by diverting the Elbow into the reservoir, fouling the water in the process. Such periodic inundations of the Glenmore reservoir by these warm and likely polluted waters will significantly deteriorate the downstream aquatic ecosystems.

The Tsuu T’ina objection to the Federal Government regarding SR-1 is based on avoiding the negative impacts this project will have on the lower Elbow River watershed; a critical source of drinking water for Calgary. I will write about these other impacts in future blogs. The Nation is wisely looking beyond a “quick fix” to flood mitigation. They want a strategy that covers drought and wildfire. A strategy that considers the health and ability of the river to deliver clean cold water…for seven or eight generations. In my view they are considering this issue with more wisdom than our elected governments have. I thank the Nation and feel sure my two newly born granddaughters will in their time. In the future I’m fighting for, there will be enough good water where we three can run laughing under the sprinkler, and drink the droplets we catch in our mouths.”

Link here to the original article.

Dave Klepacki spent his childhood learning the names of plants, animals, birds and rocks in the Appalachian Mountains of New England and the Maritimes. He finished his formal studies with a PhD in Geological Sciences from MIT mapping rock structures along the Kootenay Arc of British Columbia. Dave was able to travel the globe during a 35-year career as geophysicist and executive in the oil and gas industry and publish 26 papers of geological interest. He visited diverse landscapes and developed an interest in the global environment, resource consumption and sustainability.

Dave and his wife Amarin, who own The Heart Café and Yoga Studio, have resided in Bragg Creek for 30 years, raising 6 children with a love for outdoor adventures. They have been active in supporting many community groups. Dave has a deep connection to the Elbow River: as an amateur naturalist, flyfisherman and long-time member of Trout Unlimited; an Elbow River Watershed Partnership director; and a founding member of Stand 4 the Upper Elbow. He has written several recent editorials and been interviewed on television and radio regarding preserving this important river valley and drinking water source for both wildlife and watershed residents, especially 400,000 Calgarians.

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