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Get to know the North Saskatchewan River

If you ask any Edmontonian what's the best thing about living in Edmonton, most will say the river valley. The river valley park is a source of pride and natural beauty held close to the hearts of Edmontonians. Ours too.

However, we don't seem to hold the same affection for the river itself. We've polled Edmontonians to determine the top myths about the North Saskatchewan River and chatted with experts to get the true facts about our river.

As Edmonton's water and wastewater experts, we care passionately about the river. Our employees work with it every day and thoroughly treat the water we process with TLC and a healthy dose of obsession.

The North Saskatchewan River has long been used by First Nations people and in the 1700s drew early settlers and traders to this area to establish what is now known as Edmonton; the river is what helps sustain life in the region even today. It's important for us to not only protect, it but also appreciate and enjoy it.

5 river myths busted

Our research shows that several misconceptions exist about the river. We hope to change that.

​Myth #1 
Muddy, dirty and unclean

Photo credit: haroldburnside on Instagram
Many people mistake its silty appearance for being dirty. Our river is a naturally sediment rich river which gives the river its muddy appearance.

The river is cleaner than you think.

  • Water quality in the river at Edmonton is rated as good to excellent.
  • It's typically below the applicable water quality guidelines for bacteria, such as E.coli, algal toxins, and clarity.

Learn more

​Myth #2   

Photo credit: healthyhappyfit4you on Instagram
During spring the North Saskatchewan River can be fast moving, making it inadvisable to recreate on the water.  

The river is more usable than you think.

  • Throughout most of summer and fall, water levels are quite safe for paddling and other forms of on-water recreation.
  • As with any water recreation, remember to follow all safety protocols.

Learn more

​Myth #3
Fish aren't plentiful and are unhealthy

Photo credit: strgeonhound on Instagram
Water quality downstream of Edmonton has significantly improved in the past 60 years through better wastewater treatment.

The river is healthier than you think.

  • The river supports several varieties of fish within the city limits and provides great angling opportunities.

Learn more

​Myth #4
Hard to access

Photo credit: haroldburnside on Instagram
River access has increased significantly in the past decade due in part to the efforts of the River Valley Alliance.

The river is more fun and easier to access than you think.

  • River Valley Alliance efforts included a $90 million capital program with initiatives to add new recreation trails, boat launches and more. 

Learn mo​​re

​Myth #5
Lakes are better

Photo credit: erin.davy on Instagram
You don't need to go to the lake to get out on the water.

The river is more appealing than you think.

  • Being a moving water source, the river has many benefits over standing lake water.

Learn more