Extreme cold causes increase in water main breaks

City of Calgary crews are working extended hours to repair water main breaks due to the extreme cold snap that Calgary is experiencing this week.

“Returning water service to citizens is our top priority,” said Lee Dupras, Leader of Operations for Water Services, when discussing main breaks. “Under normal circumstances, main breaks are typically repaired and water restored within 48 hours.”

When the temperature plummets it causes three challenges: 1) we experience more breaks due to the freezing conditions, 2) it takes longer to get to the break due to the frozen ground, and 3) our crews must battle the bitter cold for long periods of time.

”Currently in Calgary there are five watermain breaks. Our crews are working outside in temperatures approaching –40 C with windchill, so we’re asking Calgarians for their patience while we repair them as quickly as possible.”

The City maintains nearly 15,000 kilometres of underground water infrastructure for our drinking water, wastewater and storm water systems and has one of the lowest number of average breaks per 100 kilometres when compared with other major Canadian cities.

Although The City proactively replaces aging infrastructure, breaks can still happen and are unpredictable.

Tips for Calgarians

Water Main Breaks

  • If you see a water main break, water pooling on a roadway, or are suddenly without water, contact 311.
  • Leave space for crews to repair the break and pave the road. Once the repair has been complete, Roads crews will work quickly to fix the asphalt by filling in the hole and repaving the road. Please obey all traffic barriers and please slow down when are crews are working.

For more information on water main breaks, visit