Canned glacier water from Fortress Mountain Resort ready to be sold in Alberta

Fortress Mountain Ski Resort, which is expected to reopen next winter, has had a licence to draw up to 98 million litres of local water annually since 1968.

An Alberta-based company is launching a new line of canned water, with the source coming from beneath Fortress Mountain Resort, but not everyone is enthused about the move.

Rök Glacier Water is partnering with Rapid Ascent Brewing in Calgary to produce the new drinks after getting approval from the province last year.

Members of the Alberta Wilderness Association remain opposed, saying the province could lose 70 per cent of glacier water from the Rocky Mountains in the coming decades

“Now really is the time to be carefully managing instead of extracting any further,” said Grace Wark, an AWA Conservation specialist. 

“The Bow Water Basin is already over allocated, which means that we need to be really carefully managing our water supply in order to make sure that we have a sustainable supply into the future."

Rök announced Thursday the drinks will soon be available in select restaurants across the province as well as retailers.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of rök Glacier Water, a venture we started with the notion to preserve, enhance and share,” said company president Michael Wood.

The water is sourced from an underground rock glacier within the Fortress Mountain ski area and rök says the aim is to help create new jobs and economic activity in the local community.  

Wood added that many other types of containers were looked as a potential choice for their water.

“We ended up on the aluminum can because it’s the most recycled product on the planet,” said Wood.

Wark says it's important for consumers to be mindful of the environmental impacts that comes along with canned products. 

“Especially if they came from or mountain headwaters where that water would probably otherwise just flow into the Bow River eventually and into our taps,” she said. 

Troy Kamphuis-Finnigan from Rapid Ascent Brewing says they’re not using bottles because they want to move away from single-use plastics.

“Everything’s going to cans whether you like it or not, so we want to be in front of that,” Kamphuis-Finnigan said.

The impact on wildlife is also of concern according to Wark. 

“There are a lot of those iconic mountain species that can be found in Kananaskis Country, whether that’s grizzly bears, cougars, big horn sheep that could be further deterred from what would otherwise be a pretty quiet mountain area,” she said.