Banff hot springs water shortage studied by U of C

Researchers from the University of Calgary are trying to figure out why the Banff Upper Hot Springs dry up every winter.

It’s been happening for the last decade, forcing staff at the hot springs to fill the pools up with tap water.

“Eleven of the past 12 years, we’ve had a stoppage in middle of winter — January or February,” said Donna Cook from Canadian Rockies Hot Springs.

The U of C’s geoscience department is collecting data from the hot springs every two weeks.

“The one thing we know is that there seems to be a correlation between the amount of rain and snow melt and spring flow,” said professor Masaki Hayashi.

"This water has to come up very quicly to maintain that temperature but what we dont know is how then, from the rain water and snow melt water, how does it get into that deep place?"

Hayashi said the research will go a long way.

“The research is valuable because the more we can understand what's happening in the mountain, the better we can plan for visitors, so they can have the experience we're inviting them to have,” Hayashi said.

So far this year, measurements show there’s likely going to be enough mineral water to last the entire winter.

“It's going to be a great Christmas, great winter, longer hours,” Cook said.

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