Water Main Break - AHS Updates & Information

A critical water main break occurred June 5 in the Calgary community of Bowness. Critical water main break - June 2024.

The water main break has also resulted in mandatory outdoor water use restrictions and a fire ban for the city of Calgary. For a detailed look at water restrictions and the Stage 4 status Calgary is currently in: Stage 4 Outdoor water restrictions in effect.

More Information

For more information on what to do during a boil water order, see the FAQs.

Road Closures During Water Main Construction

The construction work on the water main will continue to impact travel along 16 Avenue N.W. in the Bowness area. As this work will be ongoing for several weeks, additional road closures may impact the route you would normally take to get to Alberta Children’s Hospital, Foothills Medical Centre, Northwest I and Tom Baker Cancer Centre.

All sites remain fully open and accessible, and you are encouraged to review the latest road closure map to help inform your commute during this time.

Current Advisory

The boil water order issued for the community of Bowness on June 5, 2024 was rescinded on June 10.

During mandatory water restrictions, guidance to the public using rainwater (which is non potable) is the same as it would be for situations where a boil water order is in effect.

With water restrictions expected to be in place for an extended period of time (potentially 3 to 5 weeks), there are public health risks to be aware of as we all do our part to conserve water.


  • If you are using non-potable water to wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 per cent alcohol after you wash your hands with soap and water.

Food Preparation

  • Rainwater should not be used for cleaning or food preparation unless it has been boiled first.
  • Vegetables, salads and other ready to eat foods, should be washed in potable water before consuming.
  • Consider collected rainwater or any non-potable water the same as if there is a boil water advisory. Boiling water destroys disease causing microorganisms found in the water, making it safe to drink after cooling.

Watering Vegetables & Gardens

  • Rainwater and other non-potable water may be used to water vegetables.
  • If you are using non-potable water for your garden/vegetables attempt to water the roots/near the stem, and not on the leaves/fruit.
  • If you have a barrel or storage container you use to store potable water for watering, if you place non-potable water in it, ensure you properly clean and sterilize it prior to putting potable water back in it. 
  • Ensure that all vegetables are thoroughly cleaned/washed with potable water and/or cooked prior to consuming. 

Washing Dishes

  • Rainwater should not be used for hand washing dishes unless it has been boiled first.

Brushing Teeth

  • Use potable water to brush your teeth. Do not use rainwater, or other non-potable water that you have not boiled first.


  • Laundry may be done with non-potable water.


  • Do not provide rainwater or other non-potable water to pets.

Other Considerations When Collecting Rainwater

  • With many people collecting rainwater for use on gardens and house plants, keep in mind that standing water can become a breeding ground for mosquitos.
  • For your protection keep water containers covered. This could be done with a screen or solid lid.
  • Do not let water stand stagnant for more than seven days.

Other Water Conservation Health Information

  • While making best efforts to conserve water, please ensure that hand hygiene is performed.
    • Consider keeping a bowl in the sink to collect the water used to wash your hands.
    • Consider turning the water off as you lather your hands with soap.
    • At the end of the day use this collected water to flush toilets or water houseplants.
    • Do not re-use collected water to wash your hands.
  • City/municipal water should still be used for medical needs (eg. flushing lines, or tubes).
  • Continue to follow safe food handling practices when preparing meals:
    • Keep your surfaces clean.
    • Wash your hands before & after handling food, and between different food types. 
    • Keep raw and cooked foods separate. 
    • Keep meats and produce separate.
    • Thoroughly cook your food, and ensure that cold food items are kept cold (under 4C), and hot items remain hot (above 60C)
    • Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Have a Question?

  • If there are specific questions pertaining to water use during this incident and your health needs, please call HealthLink at 8-1-1.